Although I look at my calendar every day, this date still managed to sneak up on me. It has been one month now since I moved into my new house and started a new life here in Florida. One whole month. In that time I have started work towards my PhD, found a love of gardening, and most of all have–at least in part–acclimatized to life in Tallahassee.
Perhaps it has been my Jesuit education, or just a natural tendency for curatorship(1)For some explanation of this, please check this page out. , but whatever the reason may be it only seems fitting to look back at my month here and to look forward at the months to come. This reflection will be a bullet-point/timeline sketch where notable events and remarks will hopefully sure as a guide looking back.
January 9th: Passing papers and moving in.
Moving into a new house in a new city was about as daunting a task as I’ve ever attempted, but fortunately I’ve always had the support of my parents in guiding and assisting me in those moments of doubt. Unpacking surely took more energy that I would have thought but luckily you don’t have to do it all at once (I still haven’t unpacked some stuff!).
January 12th-15th: Reentering academia.
School is a wondrous thing, it truly is. Now my little brother might argue against me on this, but being able to devote your time and energy purely for your own benefit is a rare opportunity in life. School is more than just getting a degree or a simple qualifier for work; I’m pretty certain that it helps make you a better and more fulfilled person. But enough on that, getting back to university was awesome.
January 17th: Gardening.
Over the years I’ve always loved being outside and working with my hands, but rarely did I enjoy the struggle that was landscaping. I was always reluctant to volunteer myself for any such task and had always assumed that I would never be in love with it. Well, I learned my lesson: never say never. Ever since that second weekend when I realized that I should get moving on some of the basic exterior maintenance chores I’ve been spending lots of time landscaping. I’ve redesigned the front yard and am in the process of designing the backyard. I already have visions for the side of the house and plans on improving some of the things I’ve already completed. Ultimately I’m looking forward to the grass growing in and finishing up so I can share some photos.
January 29th: Academics in graduate school.
Classes and the ways in which you spend your time as a graduate student are quite different from undergraduate study. Not only is the material on a much more ad-hoc, research based level (rather than textbook), the connectivity between different aspects of the experience interact in very new ways. Whereas most things in undergraduate are compartmentalized, I have to say that almost everything I’ve worked on here has been deeply interconnected to the point where I can;t remember which class it was that I heard of this or that.
This also manifests itself as a shift in the importance of lectures and seminars. January 29th was the date of my first lecture attendance at FSU and since then I have heard guest lecturers speak on topics as diverse as drift dynamics in tidal systems to the oxygen fugacity in the earths crust across geological time scales. Even with that diversity, I’d be hard pressed to not find a link between any two learned about while here.
January 6th: Exploration of Apalachicola
While we are only days removed from the events, taking advantage of the great wilderness resources laying just outside of town has been one of my favorite things yet. Last weekend I kayaked on the Sopchoppy and Lake Talquin while also hiking some of the Florida National Scenic Trail(2)For my posts of these, see here and here.. Being able to get outside and to take a break from studies and shores and all that sort of stuff was amazing. I won’t belabor the idea here, but having stuff like this available is invaluable for someone like me who needs to get outside and spend time in the open air.
While these five points hardly scratch the surface on all that has happened in the past month, I do feel that they are representative of my time here in Tallahassee so far. Cheers!