Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination ~ Fitzhugh Dodson.
Plans, big ideas and ambiguous to-do list, sounds familiar? It’s too easy to get caught up in life and lose sight of the goalposts in the blur of everything else that clamors for our attention. I sometimes worry all my goals will remain dreams dancing in the wind and out of my reach. So what’s one to do?
I learned the art of goal setting at University. It was often a case of ‘do or burn’ when multitasking reports and the secret of averting crisis: dismal grades. Taking ideas out of the mind and writing them down really helped me, simple enough. They’re now concrete words and no longer just passing thoughts. All the better if you put them somewhere you can’t avoid seeing, so they can guilt trip you into acting. Plans of action are vital, writing along the lines of ‘complete Toxicology report’ is so unspecific it makes me feel lost in the task before I’ve begun! So I set myself little stepping-stones (‘read research paper X, make diagram for concept Y) and would celebrate each little milestone with a self-congratulatory mug of Café Nero white chocolate mocha (so good!). The greatest difficulty is always committing yourself but once you gain momentum it’s easier to stay on course as you see the tracks of progress left.
A whole month and a half has passed since being back in the UK and living with my parents again. If only I could conjure my Canadian work visa here now – viva Calgary city life! It’s hardly the most exciting existence being in a small town, middle of nowhere, East Midlands. All the colourful characters in my life spread across the country, and globe for that matter. I won’t even mention the lack of opportunity. ‘Unemployed science graduate’ (USG) I might be, but lazy I am not. I’ve been possessed by the busy bee mentality – I must keep busy, must keep brain stimulated for fear of suddenly hemorrhaging all gained knowledge, must figure out some direction, must get on career train. Strangely I miss the structure University gave every day with lecture mornings and lab afternoons. I miss the coffee date rituals in between and the conversations they fueled. Grabbing research papers from the library, studying away and feeling like I had a student-y purpose. Now I feel a bit lost.
Which brings me back to the theme of goals. I want to set myself some focused goals for February through til Mid-March. In addition to the job hunting of course!
Improve my French – how? complete my Fluent French in 30 days book.
Kick-start my Norwegian – how? complete Teach Yourself Norwegian book with audio podcast exercises, and be able to ace the pronunciation.
Get work experience – Since my return I have applied to 3 hospitals for clinical lab experience. The tricky thing with work experience is I must travel to it via public transport (license – yes, car – no) and I am in the black hole of opportunity. I have also applied for volunteer work at an exotic pet refuge (monkeys!). I’m going to chase up all these chances as my goal, as so far only one medical lab has got back to me to say they don’t do their diagnostics on site. I’m practically offering free labour here!
Reading Goal – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, and The Good Women of China by Xiran. The book nerd within is excited about these.
Journal of Clinical Embryology – could be useful at future interviews when I’m grilled about breakthroughs and research trends in IVF (dream job alert). Promise to read the journals from 2006 onwards. I have a terrible case of Masters course cravings now.
Hopefully that will keep me occupied before I morph from USG to savvy city girl using brain cells to maximum capacity.
Well I live in hope huh!