Thursday, February 28, 2008


Spring is my very favorite season. Even more than little green shoots pushing up through the mud, I love the colors and the sun. I love the promise that the grey, dreary skies will eventually clear.

I am, I hope, close to done with my six-year winter. I tell people that I've learned a great deal in grad school, and almost none of it what I thought I'd learn. I've learned to come up with quick answers- one of our postdocs thinks I should be a lawyer!- be assertive in the extreme, cut people off at the knees, rely on only myself for professional support and never expect encouragement. These are not necessarily things I want to know. This is not the person I want to be.

Appropriately enough, the Jewish New Year is always in the fall, with the harvest. I want the next year, once we leave, to be a season of renewal; perhaps a PhD is a harvest of years of suffering. It is supposed to start a new calendar for what one owes, to the Temple in past times and now, in a way, to one's community.

I want my new year to renew my faith in others and in myself. I want to believe that the people around me will do their jobs competently and to receive useful feedback in my job. With my faith in others, I want to tune down the cutthroat impulses, because I surely sharpen them on people who don't deserve it. I want to plant flowers and trees, repaint walls and sand down cupboards, and make a new home for myself and my sweet husband.

After I am done with six years of winter, I want to bring a little light. I want to have enough time away from work to give something back to my new city. I want to teach people about science, and see their faces light up, and know that my work is making the world a better place in some small way. My hope for renewal is that the spring will help me bring my love of science, beaten down by six years of this, back to life, if only as a little sprout.