Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Surprising Thought

It happened at Panera, of all places.

After a weekend dedicated to reading dense research papers and scrabbling to think like a student again, my vision was blurry and my mind confused. Just a week into American University's international relations program, I'm realizing just how long it's been since challenging myself this way. (Neither here nor there, but it's been about seven years!) It's a whole different kind of challenge and one that has had me alternately fascinated and melting down.

Any lingering readers may think I'm being melodramatic and I wouldn't necessarily argue that. However, it's been an exhausting effort trying to dredge up (and get current on) knowledge of citations and scholarly language, learning new research principles and applying them to an attempt to find a "puzzle" in the world to attempt to solve via my quantitative methods class, and then submitting a coherent research proposal ... well, it made me question my leap back into the academic world.

Back to the subject of this blog post, though - and as I said, it happened at Panera. I was having dinner with my roommate, Cody, and he was talking about taking a vacation and going somewhere new and exotic. He's fresh out of the Army, waiting to (hopefully) start a new job in the near future, and has lots of free time. Anyway, when he mentioned haring off somewhere in the world, I had a brief flashback to when I would tell people of my plans or hopes to travel and how the most common response was, "I wish I could do that."

Here's the surprise: that was not my immediate response. My immediate response was, "That's fun, but I'm happy where I'm at."

Whoa. I mean, whoa!

Since moving back to DC over a year ago, most of my efforts have been to get out, do new things, meeting new people, and figure out where I'm going next. To that end I researched the State Department and considered taking their Foreign Service Officer test; applied to the Department of Defense Education Activity (teaching dependents at military bases overseas); and began a Master's program to get educated in international relations so that I might qualify for and learn of opportunities abroad. So it's always been about where I'm going as opposed to where I'm at.

And it still is, but perhaps a little less so. For now, I'm actually pretty happy challenging myself with academics and living a good life in DC with a new roommate.

Life is good!


  1. Pleasant to feel a bit settled ... although you haven't reached stick-in-the-mud status quite yet.
    Nice post.

  2. Haha, hopefully I have a few years left before that happens, dad! Glad to know you still read and enjoy the blog, even if I'm incredibly sporadic about it!