During the past year, I feel like my life has taken a huge turn for the better. I can attribute this change to three main items, the challenges in academia and socialising, my independent living, and my various venues for social interaction:
1. My challenges in academia and socialising: They’re at the point now that my academic and social life are matching up. I used to be a student who would just about completely nail the academic life, but have major challenges in my social life, and wonder why they appeared to be out of sync with each other, which easily frustrated me. Over the years, however, my social life has greatly improved. At the same time, my entrance into graduate school has challenged my mathematical mind to such a large extent that it has never been challenged like this before. As such, the level of difficulty of my academic life and social life are more on par with each other than they have ever been. They being more on par, I feel, has resulted in a better balanced life.
2. My independent living: Yes, I’m still a student and will probably remain one for several years yet and as such I won’t be living the “American Dream” with the beautiful wife and the two and a half kids in a nice two storey house with the white picket fence (or anything similar or equally cliché) for the next several years, but will probably be living in a small one bedroom apartment for the rest of the days I’m a professional student. My PhD I feel is turning more job like than anything, especially with my course work just about completed. It’s pretty much just research and exams now. I like the apartment I’m living in right now, however, and it’s very comfortable and I plan to remain in it for the rest of the duration of my PhD. However, out of my scholarship for the PhD, I’m happily paying for it out of my own pocket and am not only paying for my own meals, but am preparing them for myself as well. I don’t rely on any kind of a university meal plan or someone else to prepare my meals. I prepare. I make everything from spaghetti and curry, to preparing a nice salmon dinner. While my parents still help out with a few little things (like paying for my plane tickets home and filing my taxes), apart from that, I would call myself pretty self-sufficient. I think the only other major thing that could make me even have more freedom or independence is learning how to drive and owning a car, but with a good bus system in the area and having friends who do indeed drive, I don’t see this as too much of an issue, at least not at the moment. I know where I’m going and I’m doing it on my own two feet. And not all 25 year olds can say the same thing.
3. My various venues for social interaction: During the first six years of being a student (the four years of my undergrad at Acadia, and two years of my master’s at U of Waterloo), I mainly kept my socialisation within the university I was at itself. But as I’ve stated in previous blog posts, my venues for socialisation have increased. I’ve gotten involved at Laurier, in the other university in Waterloo, and now that a year has passed I think I’ve made some strong social connections there and will continue to spend time there once the regular school year starts up again. There are also hangout groups in there as well.
I’ve never experienced such independence and happiness like this before. It feels great and life is good! And I hope for a continuation of this trend.