Well, that was one intense semester. Thankfully it’s the most intense semester I’m ever going to go through, because I don’t plan on getting a second PhD. I took a pedagogy class, taught my first ACS class, and had my preliminary exams. And I have survived! The pedagogy class was really helpful in giving me a fresh perspective on teaching, as well as support while I taught something I had never taught before. Teaching had its usual ups and downs, but of the students who filled out the evaluations, I did good! It was also a great learning experience both as a student and as a teacher. I’ve already got next semester figured out.
The preliminary exams almost defeated me. I had a similar experience with the comprehensive exams during my master’s program. But this was so much more intense because they expect more from us. I got a conditional pass and needed to write one last essay to fully pass. Thankfully I did, and I am able to continue in the program. But it was not a great three months while that process happened.
So I’ve needed to take some time for myself to feel balanced again. My creative side has reared its head and pointed out that I’ve had to ignore it for my academic side. It has taken over, in a good way. It started when I made up some Christmas presents for my sister and nephews. Then I started on a pair of Dragon Scale gloves after finding out that using two strands of fingering weight yarn mimics sport weight and I could use my large stash of fingering yarn to make them. It also adds depth and dimension to the color of the gloves!
Of course, I couldn’t be happy with just the one project, I started – and finished – another: Barney. Barney is my octopus hat, inspired by the octopus of the same name from Mira Grant’s Newsflesh book series. I cosplay as Dr. Abbey, whose lab Barney lives in. I thought it would be a great touch for the costume. Also, it’s just fun to have.
Now I’m still letting the gloves wait while I work on another costume piece. I made a scarf from lace weight yarn that mimics the stripes of the Thirteenth Doctor’s shirt. But when I wear it, the stripes get all clumped together and it doesn’t work the way I wanted it to. I ran across a beautiful cowl pattern that I love and decided to make a Thirteenth Doctor cowl to replace the scarf. It is beautiful. It is going to work so much better than the scarf.
Eventually I’ll get back to and finish the gloves. But the more important thing is that I’m feeling so much better and myself fully. I feel like getting some academic work done without feeling like I’m neglecting to have fun. Sometimes you just have to let go of everything else and just focus on what makes you feel good. Granted, the most important part of that is finding the time where you can afford to do that. The time where you can ignore most of the rest of the world and just focus on you. I’m lucky enough to have winter break, and I’m making the most of it.