June 3, 2011


The Internet has been flaky all week, which should have left me peace to be more productive without the distraction of social networking. Yet I continued to procrastinate.

I am only taking one class this summer due to baby’s arrival so its workload is quite manageable compared to what I’m accustomed to with grad school. Yet I continued to procrastinate.

We were given two weeks to complete our first assignment of the class, to create a research plan for our dissertation. What research area do we want to pursue? What research questions do we have? The assignment seems simple enough; I have several interests within human behavior that I’d like to further investigate. Yet I continue to procrastinate.

Do we see a pattern here? There is an obvious reason I’m avoiding this assignment, and surprisingly it isn’t the usual feelings of being overwhelmed by the quantity of tasks, but now it is the quality that overpowers me. How can I come up with a defined plan of research to pursue for the next several years of my life? The hundreds of hours I will pour into this one topic will define the start of my professional identity. This one topic will define how my professors, peers, future employers, and colleagues will perceive me. Yes, I can always grow into new research interests and collaborations, but this is the first impression many in the field will have of me as Jessica Tyler: the clinician, the researcher, the professional.

I’m comfortable with commitment in general. I find what I like and I like to stick with it; spontaneity is not something that drives me. While I always enjoy a little adventure, I flourish in stability and consistency. After all, I did already choose to make some of the biggest commitments possible in getting married at the age of 22, having a child at the age of {nearly} 25, and choosing a field (psychology) where I would invest almost a decade in just the educational component. Yet here, after finishing my first year of doctoral school… I stand dumbfounded on where to define myself as a researcher. The majority of my research in my Master’s program consisted of PTSD within the population of veterans. I thoroughly enjoyed that work and found fulfillment in it as I grew up an Army brat. I’m ready for another challenge though, in order to maintain a well-rounded vitae of course, but also to mollify my never-ending desire to know more.

So here I am… staring at a blank screen… trying to define my long-term focus in one night because I continued to procrastinate. Full of uncertainty and lack of focus, but also of excitement and anticipation in what the next few years will bring in the adventure of discovering my purpose in this crazy, beautiful, and many times illogical world.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

That is a huge task. The only advice I can give is to just read and read and keep your mind open on the subject and let it develop, if you can. I had to do a treatise project once (nothing like this of course!) and even though I wanted so badly to just decide what it would be right away, it in the end was so much better to be open minded and organic about it. Sometimes what you think is wasted time isn't wasted at all, it was time spent gathering your thoughts and shaping up what you want/need.