October 16, 2010

Trying Really Really Hard to be Brave

About two months ago, I left my job as an instructional designer to pursue my PhD in Chemistry.  It's been a dream of mine since I finished my undergraduate degree (9 years ago).  I'm just getting around to it now, and am really excited to be taking steps to accomplish my goal.  However, 9 years is a really long time to be out of school.  I've forgotten more than a lot of people know about chemistry.  I'm trying to get back into the swing of school, but it's hard when you have to learn all of the class material and re-learn all the information you've forgotten. 

On top of class work, I'm also teaching two lab sections.  I love the teaching part, and my students are really awesome... but the grading takes HOURS.  That takes away from the time I can spend studying and re-learning everything I need to know. 

As if I don't already have enough stress, I just selected my research group and advisor.  I'm really excited about my research project, and I think I'll be able to make real progress during my time at FIU.  However, I am now spending hourse each week doing lit searches and reading articles I don't really understand (then spending even more hours trying to figure out all the words/topics I don't understand so I can re-read the article and hopefully understand the article).  I'm also trying to learn how to use all the equipment in the lab (I just found out I'm in charge of maintaining all the equipment in the lab... and I don't yet know how to use it) and how to conduct polymerizations and simple synthesis' which are skills I need to master before starting work on my project.

I love what I'm doing, but I'm terrified.  I'm terrified that I'm not smart enough to be a PhD chemist.  I'm terrified that I'm not as good at this stuff as I thought.  I'm terrified that I'm going to fail and have to tell everyone that I couldn't cut it.  I'm just terrified... all the time.  I want to cry.  But, instead I smile and pretend everything is going well.  In front of my students, I act like the authority on everything dealing with Chemistry.  In front of the other students, I pretend like everything is going well and I'm as smart as them.  But inside I'm wondering if they will still like me if I fail out after one semester.  I'm wondering whaty my husband will think of me if I fail out.  I'm worried about the economic impact on my family if I can't make it. 

It's really hard to step out of your comfort zone.  When you find something that you do easily (for me, it was instructional design), it is easy to become complacent.  It becomes easy to just do that thing and make the money you need and just settle.  I didn't want to just settle, so I jumped... without a net... and it's terrifying.  I hope I catch the bar.  The alternative (a big messy splotch on the ground below) isn't an option.  So, I will continue to be brave.  I will continue to reach for that bar.  All I need is to get my finger tips around it... no fancy flips... just get my fingers around the bar.  In the future, I'll work up to flips and twists.  In the future, I will do more than just hold on... but for now, I just need to not fail.

Here's to everyone who has jumped.  Here's to everyone who has been terrified, but has continued to try.  Bravo to you.  It is not easy.  You are to be commended for your heart, desire, hard work and dedication.  No one can take your successes away from you.  They are yours alone based on your hard work.  Congratulations to you!

October 12, 2010

Birthday Earrings

As many of you know, I started working on my Chemistry PhD this fall.  On my first day of school, I met these two awesome girls, Kelley and Michelle.  Over the last 6 weeks, I've become pretty good friends with them.  Over these few weeks, I've noticed that Michelle wears earrings almost every day.  I made a mental note and tucked it away until I could act on it. 

Well, Michelle's birthday is on Thursday... so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make some earrings for her.  When she came over to study for our Organic Chemistry exam, I took out all my beads and had her pick a few beads that she liked so I could create some birthday earrings for her (she knows she is getting earrings, but doesn't know what they will look like). 

She gravitated toward my blue beads, so I decided to create some sweet dangle earrings using the blue beads and fish charms.  My goal was to make it look like the fish were swimming in water.  I then decided to create a second pair of earrings for her using different colors and sizes of pearls.  Here's a peek at her birthday earrings (luckily she doesn't read my blog, so I can post pictures here).

I'll let you know how she likes them.  I just have to wait a couple more days before I can give them to her!


My First Attempt at Wire Crocheting

Ever since I saw my first piece of wire crocheted jewelry created by Dawn of Designs by Dawn Marie, I've been amazed.  I think I have loved each piece of jewelry she has created since I've known her.  Not too long ago, she posted a video demonstrating how to complete a simple wire crochet project. 

After watching the video, I felt inspired. I went out and bought a crochet hook.  Because I was studying for an organic chemistry exam, I couldn't work on my first wire crochet project right away.  I sat staring at my new crochet hook and dreaming about my project.  Finally, I carved out a little time to work on my project. 

My first attempt didn't work out so well.  If you want to include beads in your wire crochet project, you have to string them on the wire before you start crocheting.  Well, that didn't happen for my first attempt.  I completed a couple of crochets (is that what they are called?) and was ready to put a bead on... but I couldn't figure out how since the loose end of my wire was still on the spool.  Finally, I went back to the video on Dawn's website and figured out my mistake.  I un-did everything I'd completed and strung a bunch of fall colored beads on the wire before starting again.  Once I had the correct order figured out, the project went much better.  The only problem is that I didn't realize how much wire is required to complete a project.  I ran out of wire before completing the necklace (not to mention, I made the necklace a little too short to fit around the neck of any human I know). 

Oh well, I was able to learn a new technique and feel a little proud that it doesn't completely suck.  I love the colors of fall, so I selected a warm brown wire and some different colors and shapes of fall beads.  I think the dispersement of beads can use some more work... but I'm not completely unhappy with the way it turned out. 

Happy Beading!
Related Posts with Thumbnails