At the end of the day, my friend and I always ask each other, “Did you achieve?” in the way you might ask someone, “Did you eat?” or “Did you pay?”
I’ve been in Australia now for a year. And this year, I have achieved.
I’ve travelled a bit. Not as much as I would have liked, but one thing I’ve learned about Australia is that it’s not easy to get around unless you have a lot of time and a lot of cash. And time is a precious resource for a PhD student. I’ve learned that too. Not in the no-chance-to-sleep way it was back my U of T days, but there’s enough to do to keep you working all day every day for the next three years unless you schedule yourself a break.
I’ve done a bit of work. Haven’t completed an experiment yet, but I’m getting there! I’ve spent countless hours testing, hunting down subjects and analysing data. What’s more impressive is that I can explain what I’m studying in just a few sentences to someone who knows nothing about either music or psychology.
Perhaps I’m getting better at the whole people thing. Or perhaps not. I did just get kicked out of a house. But the number of offers for couch-space, moving help and free furniture I received suggests potential improvement.
There are other things. Caving and abseiling. Surviving three hours in a bus after someone puked in it. I have cooked new things and introduced new foods to my diet, though, to be honest, those new foods consist of Tim-Tams, pizza-flavoured Shapes crackers and chocolate Up and Go. That I have survived another year eating as I do is rather more remarkable.
And then there’s this:
My rail pass. I bought it my first week in Sydney and it expired on Friday. I held onto a train ticket for an entire year without losing it, tearing it, drowning it or otherwise irreparably damaging it. Now, if that’s not achieving, I don’t know what is!