101 Goals, R2

The time has come. (Round 1 is here, don’t laugh.)

I’m a little bit older; not fragile, but not sure-footed either.

Part of that entails feeling aimless. Not for lack of aims, but more of the sense that a huge swath of them might eventually prove frutiful and a paranoia about opting to pursue the wrong ones. That only lasts for so long before you start to feel really useless and guilty about it, and so I guess the big aim of Goals.R2 is to strategically narrow the scope of the adjacent possible: to compress the world of possibility from something rampant and unwieldy to something concrete and manageable and worthwhile, burrowing through the muck toward a clairvoyant surface and engendering habits within myself to keep that burrowing steady and multifaceted.

Career-wise, I’ve got a North Star; I’ve had it, in fact, for a few years – as is perhaps the nature of an aim worthy of the title – and am finally certain enough to be grounded in it though there are like fifty billion paths that might lead that way and it is really anyone’s guess as to which will prove fruitful. So most of these items focus on other things.

Also worth a separate prelude: I would like to include more goals on being kinder, more empathetic, more graceful, a reliable friend in times of crisis – but I can never quite figure out how to phrase them as tangible, checkable goals. And I don’t think I ever ought to, for that matter, so I will be keeping those things in mind as an ever-present thrum that enhances all else.
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101 Goals, R2

Some thoughts on CGIU.

For the curious.I was lucky enough, this past weekend, to venture into blissful aridity to highlight some early results of a mobile health project I’ve been working on at the university-level congregation of the Clinton Global Initiative. The ups constituted an electrifying experience: there is nothing quite like Hillary Clinton discussing the importance of working past the threshold of exhaustion to promptly jar any remnants of lazybones from the body. But some arrangements left me stewing over the necessary evil of self-promotion in pursuit of broader good and the difficulty of pinpointing which takes precedence when evaluating projects.

Continue reading “Some thoughts on CGIU.”

Some thoughts on CGIU.

101 Goals in (Slightly More Than) 1001 Days

My engineering education imbued me with nothing if not an appreciation for concrete and quantifiable goals. I’ve done a tremendous number of new and ridiculous things over the past year in particular (toured the southwest, left the country for the first time x3, wrote for a national audience, won a business competition, created a (semi)functional medical device, graduated, formed a startup…etc) and after this blur of mostly structured activity, I’ve begun to fear complacency in my murky gap year after undergrad.

While “101 things in 1001 days” lists were a pinteresty craze for a bit, my goal is constructing this one is to provide myself with a more focused narrative for progress over the transition years from undergrad to graduate school and through the early stages of gainful employment. I’ve also extended the time period to three years just for kicks, and hidden just a few for specificity.

In order to qualify, an item must be: 1) concrete or quantifiable 2) not directly dependent on the decision of anyone else 3) reasonable, but require concrete time or effort and 4) make me a better or more interesting person in either a major or minor respect (none of this “withdraw from caffeine for a week” bullshit). Without further ado:

Continue reading “101 Goals in (Slightly More Than) 1001 Days”

101 Goals in (Slightly More Than) 1001 Days

Conundrums.

(What follows is a lot of uncertain gallivanting about the post-grad life.)

I want to work in international development because I enjoy doing impossibly challenging things and dislike the fact that the world is not an even playing field. I’ve had the itch to go into public/foreign service for a few years now for a) absurd love of DC b) a firm belief that engineers who can talk and write like real people have an obligation to exercise both of those capabilities and c) outrageous frustration with the status quo of top-down technology implementation.

Here’s the crux of the problem: I like making things.

I like making things a lot – mentally juggling parts of a prototype until they click, outlining program structures to process changes in respiratory wall resistance and log that data in a google doc, transforming complex instrumentation into something elegant and sparsely functional.

I’m not sure if I’m done with that quite yet. I’m terrified that if I jump the gun – take a fellowship abroad for six months or a year or more, to get the basic field experience basic jobs and grad schools require – that I’ll not only miss out on a critically exciting period in the field, but also put my absurd set of technical tools to waste. I drunkenly told someone a few weeks ago that I wanted to be the Steve Jobs of accessible health technologies; that is, to take something bogglingly unwieldy and transform it into a functional market. (But so does everyone. Who’s lived the dream? Design professors with infinite creative labor, obvs.)

In any case, it comes down to this: there is not a paved career path in which I could accomplish those things, nor a relevant industry that hires for my skill set. Not right out of college, certainly. In an ideal world, I think I’d start with senior design: get that up and running, and expand to what comes fluidly – diagnostics are what I’m good at, and what I’ve been best trained in. Work on lots of short-term projects within a grander vision. Add in adventure/shenanigans (low expectations work here – I’m the girl who thinks flying in planes is crazy and I swam across the border for my one trip out of the states, remember). Not picky on location, though the intersection of health and regional stability ignites all the on switches (I swear I’d head to backcountry Afghanistan if I could). Maybe grad school after a break, if it’s useful and helps me do more useful and exciting things.

Anyway, suggestions welcome. I filled out the bioengineering curriculum checklist not terribly long ago, purple pen and all:

 

Rice has given me lots of weapons but not yet taught me how to aim them. Scared I’ll miss.

Conundrums.