My friend, Kookaburra**, defended her dissertation yesterday. When I started my PhD program, everyone always told me 'Oh, you and Kookaburra would get along great!' because we both like crafts, music and large Southern states. Well, it was true. In addition to always having a super fun time together, she had a very different path than me in starting and getting through grad school. Overcoming different personal issues, academic setbacks, and difficult advisors; her experiences have taught me a lot.
One of her favorite sayings is "You define your own success." It is hard to remember this little gem when those people you look up to and learn from (profs and advisors) often have a very narrow view of success (tenure track position at a research institution) and a tendency to pass judgment quickly (anything else = complete and utter failure). Whether it is a family, a job at a teaching institution or a geographically limited postdoc, no one should make you feel bad about what you want. Despite this, they often do intentionally and unintentionally. That's seriously messed up. I applaud Kookaburra for having a full life in and out of science/academia and hope I can remember to define my own success even with her on the other coast*.
Congrats Dr. Kookaburra!!
* she also has a penchant for leaving inspirational post-its around her house. Maybe my desk plant will get one with this saying on it.
**Edited because I forgot to look up the spelling of Kookaburra. I'm new to birds. Please forgive me.
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