I awoke early this morning (as usual) and since I was out of cigarettes I went for a walk around the neighborhood, the path of which passed a local convenience store on the way home. So this morning was a combination of healthy (walking) and unhealthy (buying cigarettes) activities. And the stop at Starbucks on the way home? More than just a healthy activity. A requirement for life.
Other than this afternoon's research, there's not much on today's agenda. Coming in the middle of the day as it does (noon to five), the the timing of fieldwork excludes participation in most other time-consuming activities. I have to plan my day around the research and though this is somewhat frustrating, it's important to keep in mind that it's an impermanent thing. The field season will cease in October and depending on the quanitity of data collected this year, it will most likely be completed by next summer.
I'm looking forward to the fall semester starting next week. I'm taking 9 graduate credit hours, six of which are research credits and three of which are for the advanced parasitology lab techniques course previously mentioned. It's going to be a rigorous semester, particularly with the parasitology course, but that's ok. I look at it as an investment for the future, which makes it all worthwhile. And besides, it's going to be a lot of fun.
It's also an exciting thing to consider that this time next year I'll preparing to transition to the next stage of life, whether it be PhD school, the Peace Corps, or some other form of international humanitarian endeavour. Practically everything I've done with the career and school over the last five or six years has prepared me for the next big step. There are so many possibilities, all with risks to one degree or another. But risks--calculated risks-- are worth taking if they ultimately result in the greater good. Of course I still have a lot to learn, but this is all part of the process.
Of course, there's always the option of just staying put where I am and buying a house or condo. I have a comfortable career and this would be the most comfortable option, certainly moreso than giving up everything for something like two years of volunteer work with the Peace Corps or becoming an impoverished PhD student for the next four or five years. Or, sequentially, both. Yet these latter options have so much more appeal than simply settling down and settling for the easy route. If I were to do this, I would probably regret it years from now.