Personal Life Update 14
After almost three months, it has taken a holiday to finally give me enough time to write an update post. Thankfully, the gap has been filled with a lot of productivity (and some procrastination). Looking forward, it may be awhile before I'm able to get into regular posts due to the high demands of my dissertation and the internship process. That being said, here's a brief update on what's been going on.
In my last post, I mentioned that I had successfully defended my proposal. My research assistant and I have been busy collecting, organizing, and entering articles, starting with articles on youth with diabetes. As is always the case with research, the process is taking longer than expected, so at this time (end of the summer) we're still wrapping up the diabetes articles and have yet to start in-depth searches for other groups. But a lot of progress has been made on creating the tools and workflow that will help to make things move faster going forward.
For example, I moved the Access database (which we're using for data entry and tracking of some information about articles) to an online SharePoint site. That allows any research assistants who work with me to do data entry remotely. We're also using EndNote to organize, screen, and track articles. I use Mendeley as my personal reference manager, but decided to use EndNote due to our research assistants being more familiar with the program. There were hiccups with setting up Access and EndNote, but now they're functioning perfectly for the work we're doing.
Now I'm in the process of contacting article authors to try and get some missing information, and to see if they have any unpublished findings. While that's going on, we're going to start moving forward with our article searches, most likely focusing on youth with cancer next. Despite the delays, I should still be able to get things wrapped up before starting internship (or at the very least, have all of the data analyses done), which would be great. Our plan is to present findings from the diabetes group at the upcoming SPPAC conference in Portland at the end of March.
Oh internship...the thing taking up most of my time at the moment (and leading to the most procrastination). I've narrowed down my list of sites to 17, and my goal for today is to update that list and narrow it even further (the most they recommend applying to is 15). The essays proved to be the most difficult 2,000 words (~500 each) I have had to draft so far, but I finally got first drafts done and passed along to my supervisor for feedback. I also have the application partially filled out (just not the parts I can't finish until later), my letter writers confirmed, and my hours up-to-date. I had to email back-and-forth with the internship application folks a few times before they finally found my transcript, but otherwise things have been fairly smooth.
Next steps are to finalize my essays, get materials to my letter writers, finalize my list of sites, finalize my hours, and start the actual application process. It may not sound like much, but it's surprisingly time consuming (and stressful). Plus, it's in addition to all of the other work I was already doing, so most of my available time has been devoted to working on this (hence the lack of posts).
I'm feeling pretty good about things, though. From talking with others, it sounds like I'm in a pretty good place in terms of preparedness.
There's not too much else to update on. My clinical work has been great, and I've already learned a lot from working in the endocrinology clinic. The weather has been great, so my wife and I have been trying to enjoy walking around from time to time (and she's been very patient with my high stress levels). And I've been making decent progress re-organizing some of my workflow (particularly note taking, which I'm doing in OneNote more and more because I had trouble keeping track of my handwritten notes).
So overall, good things to report. Today my goal is to work on the internship things some more, but also to enjoy the day off and get in some more much-needed (and much-earned) relaxation. Hopefully you're all able to do the same!