Dissertation Proposal and a Hill Workout

Today was a big day for me: I proposed my dissertation! Basically this means that my committee said I can go ahead with my experiment. I have spent the last nine months reviewing literature, collecting/analyzing preliminary data, and writing up my proposal – this afternoon I finally got to share and get feedback on all of that work. The dissertation is the last step in getting my PhD, so this was an important meeting.

Committee meetings are not my favorite thing. They’re nerve-wracking and involve sitting in a room for an hour, answering difficult questions. It’s great in the sense that it gives you a chance to really think through a research project, but it’s draining.

Earlier in my graduate school career, a day like today would have provoked a lot of anxiety. I would have barely been able to eat or sleep in the days prior. Since I look up running, however, stressful meetings are much more manageable.

This morning I did another hard hill workout – it was a tough run and there were a few times when I just wanted to give up. But I kept telling myself that if I ran hard up the hill, my committee meeting would feel so easy in comparison. With every step I reminded myself that this workout would be the hardest part of my day.

It sounds silly, but it worked. When I sat down at my committee meeting, it didn’t feel nearly as scary as it could have. Instead I felt ready to conquer the world – if I could push myself that hard on my run, there was no reason I couldn’t survive my meeting as well.

Plus, every time the meeting got tough, I thought “well at least it’s better than running up that hill again!”

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