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Reverb 10 – Day 14: Appreciate or How I came to terms with my situation.

December 14 – Appreciate

What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

(Author: Victoria Klein)

It’s not just one thing I’ve ended up appreciating in 2010. It’s my entire situation.

I’ve come to terms with and I’ve started to appreciate the positive parts of all these facets of my current situation:
– my choice of topic and university,
– the independence I get in my research,
– living in Delft and the Netherlands,
– my housing situation,
– being far from my boyfriend.

Let me break this down and discuss more.

1. my choice of topic and university

I’ve let go of (or better: I’m trying very hard to let go of) all the “what if”s that I kept thinking of. What if I had stayed in the US and looked for a job and waited until the economy would be better? What if I’d have applied to another university?

2. the independence I get in my research

I started to appreciate the trust and independence I get here. I think this is one of the main factors that makes doing a PhD at TU Delft special. You really learn how to become a fully independent academic who can set up a research program all by himself. (But sometimes it can get really lonely and hard).

3. living in Delft and the Netherlands

I guess I have digested my culture shock (home vs. the Netherlands) and reverse culture shock (moving from the US back to Europe) by now. Delft is pretty, and the North Sea is near.

4. my housing situation

Early 2010 I left my campus room and decided to take over a previous generation of PhD students their apartment and look for roommates. Now I feel like I have a home, and not that I am camping in a temporary transition phase anymore.

5. being far from my boyfriend

Saying that I appreciate this part of my current situation would be too much, but at least I’ve accepted the situation.

What I’ve learned from all this is that it definitely doesn’t help to keep dreaming of (doubtfully) better options. I’ve taken a decision to come here and do a PhD and I’d better make the best out of it. I’ve noticed that I started to enjoy living here much more when I gave up on being grumpy about this entire situation.

To express my gratitude for the situation I am in, I have started to cherish and indulge in all positive parts I can see in this situation. Most of all, I feel relaxed in my house (and I notice my cat has become much calmer and less stressed than before too).

For 2011 I hope I can further develop this appreciation. Enjoying the time I am spending here should be one of the keys to a better balance, and thus more productive time to do research.

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