Challenges, Life in Paris

Rising to the Occasion : Thesis Edition

When it comes to challenges, this week is trying to hit it out of the park. 

I was very moody last week, despite the wealth of exciting news, social occasions, and good happenings. I’ve thought more about it and that reflection helped me take the weekend to recover some of my wherewithal and drive.

On Sunday I wrote my goal list for the week, perfectly admirable, perfectly achievable…

Then, Monday struck!

I generally love Mondays, especially in France, because things are open again after a slow Sunday, so I can catch up on groceries. Certain things like the center where I work are still closed, which meant that I was able to go in and finish up all my data entry.

I felt great about catching up, and I sent an email to my advisors to let them know that I was closing in on the 100 observations generally suggested for a thesis, and that I would start drafting the statistical analyses syntax.

I was on my way to prep for a practice interview when I got a response. It was slow to load on the Metro, but quick to land an impact once I read it. One of my advisors, who is responsible for 25% of my grade, wanted 200 observations. More than double what I was able to collect in two weeks, with just about two weeks left to go… 

Now, recall for a moment that one of my major goals is to stress less in 2017. I’m not always happy, and I’m not always low-stress or stress-free, but I’m working on a peaceful relationship with my emotions and my body. That work showed itself when I got the email. 

I quickly did the math; 120 more observations in 8 more working days, maybe 10 if I go to work on both upcoming Saturdays. Worst case scenario, I only have 8 more days to collect data, meaning that I need 15 successfully filled out surveys per day. On good days I can get 20 responses, and that includes a relatively long lunch hour, plus the time when I sit in the corner and cower at my own French language abilities.

The time for cowering is clearly over.

While in the midst of a pep-talk, I got a call that my practice interview would be moved to Tuesday evening. As a result, I finished up some more prep work and went home around 7. Plenty of time for groceries, laundry, and other little house chores. I spent some quality time with E, and got a decent night of sleep.

On Tuesday, I was ready for action.

While neither of my supervisors were in that day, my other coworkers gave me little bits of encouragement throughout the day. I fluttered around for the entire morning , handing out surveys, chatting with clients, answering questions, and dropping sheet after completed sheet into the locked letter box that I use at the center.

By the time I looked at the clock, I had given out 25 surveys… Before lunch!

I took my lunch break, invigorated, and printed 25 more surveys… Could I match my morning record? By the time I left for the day, I had given out 50 surveys, and received 40 of them back, successfully completed! I felt great; an 80% response rate is really high compared to my response rate last year. 

This morning when I arrived and checked the locked box, I felt even better. Six people who had not yet returned their surveys when I left for the day had filled them out and remembered to turn them in! 

It was beautiful today in Paris, which meant the center was much slower than normal. I collected about 15 surveys, despite giving out nearly 30. Lucky for me, it just started pouring, and the weather looks grey for the next few days. Nothing seems to draw in clients quiet like bad weather and strong wifi, so I’m hoping to hit my goal by the end of the week!

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