As the trees shed their leaves and animals go into hibernation, so do we, sometimes. There is a natural progression in life that we cannot avoid, but must embrace if we wish to see positive changes. I must admit I am bound by these thoughts as the year progresses and the final submission of my thesis draws nearer. It is a stage of much anxiety and anticipation, which can oftentimes be confusing. Metaphorically speaking, that just about sums up the life of a postgraduate, particularly mine.
This year marks the final year of my studies. As most postgraduates know, this means you have to finish doing all experimental work (which took lots of energy and activity – rather like summer!) and start compiling the data into an understandable format. The smell of coffee, fuzziness of warm blankets and a jersey, all linger in my mind at the thought of this. Winter is indeed coming. Loose ends need tying up. Lab equipment must be put to rest. “Doing” is done, and now I have to solidify the findings! That mammoth task can give anyone the heebie-jeebies!! And I’m tempted to curl up and just stay in a warm little ball…
But after months of trial and error, you will hopefully come out strong and triumphant, having run the race, closer to the answers than you were at first. As for me, more than two years have past; what’s done, is done. It is time to pick myself up, do some introspection and turn all my energies into displaying the guidance I’ve received. In the end, all the work I’ve invested will become an actual physical something that makes a contribution to science and possibly change peoples lives. That thought makes the coldness of my winter start to thaw away.
So, I hope to not just freeze mentally or physically in the months ahead, but keep my eye on the prize. Because winter will also lead to the beginning of a new season, the air filled with freshness, newness and anticipation for beautiful things. In the end, I look forward to the promise of bright flowers, green trees and yes, to graduating. Until then we have to acclimatize ourselves with the changes in season, for these too bring with them gifts for those that know how to seize the day!