Monday, May 08, 2006

May already

So I missed all of the month of April - when the following happened:

I got my dissertation proposal accepted - I am, finally, ABD. It is a very strange feeling and I am a bit lost, so I am taking a little time off to reorganise. The loved one is telling me that in some sense I have graduated - that now it is all about what *I* want to do, and I believe that is true. I believe I have to trust my own instincts now and read others as colleagues, not experts. Interestingly, the topic is coming up from different directions, and it seems to be about leadership. Sometimes the only person you lead is yourself, but you have to decide to take responsibility for your beliefs, opinions, and desires. I cannot anticipate the perspective of every body else, I can only be the best advocate for my position and trust that others will advocate their positions. I have to listen to them, of course, and consider whether I want to adopt some of their beliefs as part of my position, but I am not looking for ultimate truth. A working definition, enough to give me a place to start and a direction to go, that's what I want.
One of the most important things about leadership seems to be the ability to fail well and learn from failure. Fail your way to the top, sort of.

I did my second month as editor of the scholarly mailing list and am now off duty for six or so months. Phew. It is really interesting to realise that whereas I did make a few mistakes and had to clean up some messes, I still did pretty good and some of the others made mistakes too (one that I was able to help fix) so - again - seeing other people's insides is very different than seeing their outsides.

I did the last month as president of the graduate student association, and retired happily (and of course a tad regretfully - it's hard to let go). It has been good for me, and I have learned something about my capacity and about leadership and my limits.

I finished the photography class with a final project that is not what I wanted it to be but that has possibilities - I will keep working on some of the ideas and see where I can get to. Again, I think I have learned things - about process, about thinking visually, about photoshop.

Now I have to go do other things - like play with my xbox.