Berkeley, Wednesday, October 10, 2018 9:58 AM
This week, I have learned two important things, both were advices, but the second one was part of experience. Yesterday, in a discussion with Joe McBride, a Emeritus Professor who I admire, a topic regarding the preparation to the qualification exams was in the table. Joe has traveled to several countries in the world. He wrote a book regarding urban forests based on what he observed in 32 cities all over the world. A life long project. I a nice example of have goals and living with purpose. He definitely has traveled more cities in the world. Sometimes his visits could have been for a conference or a workshop, I do not if his visits, sometimes where for leisure, in any case he materialize all what he has seen in written and sketches format.
With such a world class researcher as a friend, I do not miss opportunity to ask him for advices. Often, the answer are simplified in a personal level, which I agree.
In May 2017, before embarking on a trip to 7 countries, and about 17 cities, for 60 days, I asked Joe for an advice to success on this trip. He said while I am sure that you will do fine, never forget to be humble, and bring a small souvenir in gratitude to all these people who will help you on your way.
True and great advice.
After living all those wonderful experiences, I think I inflated a bit, back to school during Fall 2017. I thought I can do well in whatever course. I was sure that I can face whatever challenge that I can. While perhaps the confidence was high, I do not if I might lost some humility for few time over the Fall 2017. I can tell that because I was not asking for advices anymore, I was just walking my way. Humility makes you ask more and more question to fulfilling the uncertainties or insecurities.
While that could not be the only source of drop in focus and productivity by the end of the Fall and beginning of the Spring 2018 semester, I am building a possible link here.
After February, I reached out people for more help and advice. Any possible inflation in personality was already gone, I had to acknowledge that there might be limitations. I am good a some things, which I need to know clearly, but I also need to acknowledge clearly on what I am not, and perhaps ask for mentorship, advice, or whatever transparent solution just to advance.
I am grateful on how much Joe’s wife, Debbie, trust on my performance for my upcoming challenges: Qualification Exams. When we asked an advice for Joe, he said humility, and I can summarize his other advices on to be concise.
When a question comes, it is better a short and specific answer, rather to expand too much, and be off track, driving myself and the audience to an uncertain path.
I happened on Monday with some of answers, in a mock qualification examination, where I was tested by Kristina, a Faculty in my Department, and with an audience of 5 peer PhD student colleagues.
Some lack of preparation caught me also in that testing, in any case is good to practice.
Then comes, should I expand the concise advice to my daily life conversations, particularly with my girlfriend, who is my confident, and to who I opened up all my autobiography history.
Both of us are students with bussy agendas, and big challenges coming up, so we need to be efficient with our time.
We have committed to long term goals together as well, in response to enjoyable moments in our wonderful match of personality, attraction, and lives.
I do not have nothing to be embarrassed. Everything in life has been learning lessons. I acknowledge that I am not perfect, neither had extremely clean record, though clean enough and full of values to face life seriously. In any case, I keep track of life and memories, achievements, mistakes, experiences and learnings. I have been happy to share them with my girlfriend, and will continue to do it. If there is an improvement, it is to be clear and concise in explaining. Clarity, comes by mastering details, learning outcomes, from the experience, and how that have influence in my life. If I already forgive or acknowledge to myself anything that I have done for good or bad, it is good that she knows. How much importance has the past on me? Perhaps many, as I keep a track on things. Without exploring I could not have learnt. I have sharing with her my stories and learnings from my explorations. There are not myths here, we were mainly talking about previous relationships and related romantic or erotic experiences.