I wake up every day and commute about an hour to work. I walk through college kids who are full of life and eager to start their journeys, while I meander up the stairs to my office. A room filled with cubicles and some of the smartest people you will ever meet. And I sit there, and wonder, how did I get here? I am a research scientist. I have a bachelor’s degree in forensic chemistry, a master’s degree in analytical chemistry, and here I am, working towards my PhD in Physical Chemistry. These words may seem foreign to you but it is my daily life. Most of these days are met with failure, whether a sample gets contaminated or an experiment goes inexplicably wrong. I go home exhausted and angry at some inanimate object, mainly particles that are the size of one billionth of a meter, which yes I know, sounds absolutely absurd. But on good days, I am on top of the world, on the cusp on understanding something no one on the planet could even imagine. This is life and this is what is real.
I know most of you won’t understand the difficulties in academia and pursuing this type of higher education, but there are things that still can be easily paralleled between your experiences and mine, we are all human and this is how life goes. We want that promotion, or published paper, or even to wake up and have the desire to go work. Finding that purpose every day is what connects us all, and more importantly helps to make you a better teacher, student, family member, or friend. Learning to take the bumps in the road with stride, and making the best out of those great days, and appreciating your support system on the bad ones is the thread that truly connects us all.
I challenge you to be okay with your difficulties and to wake up the next day and stay determined. On the days when you hit all the green lights going to work, or for me when my train is on time, enjoy these small but happy circumstances. Enjoying the best things in life, no matter how small, these things are what helps us get through the darkest days. And right now, I don’t know about you, but I am enjoying all the little things more and more.
Stay positive, you’ve got this.