Thursday, February 9, 2012

Saying hello

There have been weeks at a time when I don't think about this site, when I forget my promise to at least consider coming back here to write. And then friends will ask what my plan is, if I'm going to start writing again, if I'm still baking. Well, maybe it's time. Maybe there is no right time to start writing again, because I will probably never come up with the post to start. And there I go, rambling again. You guys really don't need to see how messy my brain is right now.

But hey! Here we are, a few months later, and my brain is finally doing shit right for once. So we get to talk about what's on my mind currently.

I'm in the final months of my master's program at UNC. My life revolves around my (rather ugly) thesis, quite a few Igor-related snit fits, and not much else. And I'm glad I did this program. While it felt really weird to tell professors in my department that I was accepting a position at a software company, doing absolutely nothing related to my degree, it's the right thing for me. Those two things may see irreconcilable - my MS in environmental engineering followed by a desk job related to software. But if you look at every decision you make as something that is supposed to improve you, rather than something that is supposed to advance your career, it begins to make sense. Those three years working on flexible packaging taught me a lot. I learned how to be less abrasive, more tactful, and more outgoing with people I didn't know. This master's program has taught me that I love learning for its own sake, not just for the field that the learning is centered on. And that as long as I'm in a position to keep learning, I will be happy. It makes me understand my mom's career path a lot better, and explains why she was the one most okay with me not continuing on for a PhD. My dad and sister are so in love with their respective fields that they would not be happy if their work was not centered on those fields. I don't have that sort of passion - not about plastic, not about environmental engineering - and that's not a bad thing. It makes my career prospects more flexible, more undefined.

I've had to convince J, his family, and my family that this new job I will be starting in June really is the one I want. For all that I believe that, it's occasionally hard to say it in a way that doesn't sound like I'm trying to convince myself. What's actually happening is that it is forcing me to put into words how I feel, and how I have felt since I started struggling with what I want to do with this degree. This past year has been hard. I've rocketed between depression, frustration, and joy; the ups have been just as dizzying as the downs.

So yes, I'm back. In one way or another, I will try to continue writing here. The blog title no longer makes sense, but I have too much of a connection and attachment to it to give it up. And who knows, I might pop in here with baked goods every once in a while. I've still been baking, although not as much as I used to. And that's a post for an entirely different time.

10 comments:

Nancy/n.o.e said...

the baked goods are secondary; welcome back, it's good to see you writing and to hear your plans!

Nancy/n.o.e said...

...and does this mean that a wardrobe of pencil skirts are in your future?

Marcela said...

welcome back! A friend of mine has a degree in environmental engineering but is now very happy working at a bank in Ireland, as Chief of Personnel. She says, and very rightly so, that she understood that we shouldn't let what she studied define who she was, or who she wanted to become, and that once she understood that, she was free to search for something that made her happy. I hope you find your passion, and that you enjoy your new job.

Tracey said...

Welcome back, and congratulations on your new job!

pinkstripes said...

Hi! Welcome back. :)

Engineer Baker said...

Oh Nancy, I wish - the position I was offered involves very little dressing up for customers. So it's actually a pretty lax dress code. I may find reasons to wear pencil skirts though :)

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Y said...

Well hello there! Thank you for posting. I agree with Nancy. I've always been interested in the things you bake, but I equally love your writing and hearing about what you've been up to. Speaking of, it sounds like it will be an interesting year for all of us. I like your plan and think it'll work out wonderfully. But even if there's a small chance it doesn't, we won't know until we try, right?

Bridget said...

Love to see you writing again, Caitlin! And, hopefully, happier and more settled - or at least heading that direction! It sounds like you'll be in a good place for you.

I have a PhD in geology, and I'm spending my time at work recently researching high-level radioactive waste containers. And that's okay. I'm not passionate about my job, but I do like it. That works for me.

And it doesn't mean that graduate school wasn't worthwhile. I don't use experimental petrology at work, but my experience learning about experimental petrology then helps me learn about radioactive waste containers today.

(Also, I wear pencil skirts to work often, and most of my coworkers are in jeans!)

Molly Nelis said...

I'm glad to see you are back :D

Starting is the hard part. I have found that I have lots to blog about, and that waiting for the blog-able moment never seems to work.