seven quick takes…

…which are totally pointless but at least tangentially related to my work/research/productive things, so this can totally count as progress, right?

Basically, boring week = boring post.

1. I became a student member of the International Water Association to attend that conference in Patras, and now I get their magazine every two months, which is pretty cool. The current edition’s cover story is about “Hamburg’s lead on water and energy,” which gives me hope that maybe one day I could live or work at least part-time in Hamburg… because I’d be down with that.

2. Also, I’ve only read about three pages so far, but the frequency with which the “water-energy nexus” has already been discussed is very encouraging, since I’ll be focusing my master’s research on the interconnectedness of water and energy to some extent!

3. I really long for the day when I will actually feel motivated to work. It’s been rough goings here lately, but my report is coming along… even if the pace is glacial. (Geography puns!!!!!!!) My professor even liked my first chapter, and the revisions for that are coming along! However, my day-to-day motivation to actually get to the library, first of all, and then to remain focused when I get there… are… I don’t want to say non-existent…

4. Ok, that was headed in a bad way, so we’ll change gears. People who knew me in college will know that my favorite day of the whole semester was the day when the new course schedules would come out, so I could plan my projected classes for the next semester… color-coded and prioritized into plans A, B, and C, of course. I’ve started the process for my first semester of graduate school, and there wasn’t all that much to decide, but who knows what kind of obstacles I’ll run into when it comes time to register? As I have it drawn up now, I’ll be taking the intro class for my Energy Analysis and Policy certificate, Energy Economics, Benefit Cost Analysis, and Water Resources Institutions and Policies. I know that probably sounds super boring to everyone but me, but I’m pretty jazzed about it!

5. I’m giving a group presentation in my Physical Geography of North America class about water use, demand, and resources in North America/the US! It should be really interesting. We’re starting work this week.  Of course it will all be in German but if I was able to totally make a fool of myself in fluent German this week in class with little to no preparation, I think it will go over nicely with 2ish weeks of prep.

6. One slide in our lecture today was a big map of the transport (train) networks of the US, and all I could think of was playing Ticket to Ride with family and friends… standing on chairs for a full view of the map, crying in the corner due to a missed connection et al. (hehehe.) All the major junctions were the same, but notably Sault Ste. Marie was NOT included. We may never find out what made it important enough to include in the first place…

The only way to fully appreciate the entire map and thus create a bonafide railway empire

The only way to fully appreciate the entire map and thus create a bonafide railway empire (stealthily passing cards under the table while the parentals aren’t looking notwithstanding)

7. I should really be working on my revisions right now so I’ll bring this post to a premature HALT… if anyone could go ahead and send me some packaged or bottled motivation of some sort… that would be great.

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the part where i actually do some research

Well, actually, that’s a bit misleading.

The truth is that I have been doing a LOT of research since October. Probably too much research. Because every time I found a new article about flood management or residual risk management or reservoir construction or flood mapping, I would read it, stress about how this new information would fit into my mythical research project, and go on to get absolutely nothing done.

So finally, when I was at the end of my rope with a 15-page outline that contained a lot of information but absolutely nothing of interest, I had a great meeting with my research advisor after which I knew EXACTLY what I would write.

Don’t you love when that happens?

I fully accept that I make my life much more difficult than it needs to be, but I’m thankful that things normally come together in the end.

So I am happy to report that after 5 straight days of getting up early to go to the library (I have to get there within 20 minutes of when it opens at 8 or the whole place will be full… finals season), I have officially written 15.5 pages and over 4,300 words! I am 6/8 of the way done with my first chapter [actually, it’s my second chapter, but it’s the first one I’ve written], and it’s not perfect, but it exists!

(Don’t be fooled by that last sentence/paragraph, which is probably a run-on and contains two different parenthetical thoughts. I am normally considered a “good writer” but I guess your mileage may vary.)

I am a big fan of just getting things written. I wasn’t always this way, but once I started writing my thesis and I had deadlines and responsibilities and high expectations, I started subscribing to Anne Lamott’s school of the “shitty first draft.”

All good writers write [shitty first drafts]. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts. People tend to look at successful writers who are getting their books published and maybe even doing well financially and think that they sit down at their desks every morning feeling like a million dollars, feeling great about who they are and how much talent they have […]. But this is a fantasy of the uninitiated. I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much.

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

I just wanted to check in here quickly to report that even though I haven’t been blogging, I have absolutely been writing! Also, if anyone would like to read over my shitty first draft, please give me a shout. 😉