climbing in red rocks silhouette
Credit: flickr / lastbeats

How do you define progress? As a grad student, the weeks I spend reading papers and thinking don’t feel like progress – it’s the week, or day, or hour, when things start to come together that does.

In going back to training, it’s not the gradual improvements in fitness and energy. It’s when I can train for two hours straight and still get up the following morning and go to the gym. It’s fitting into jeans a size smaller.

In programming – lines of code, is progress. A feature, it progress. Passing test cases, is progress. A new idea is not, so much. Ideas are many – implementation is key.

Maybe that’s why I wish I got to code more.

In training, “progress” makes the things that make progress happen seem easier. Seeing results makes me more motivated to stop work and go kickboxing. Having more energy makes it physically easier to get up and go, too.

In grad school, having made “progress”, the act of going back and enabling more feels like stopping. But weeks of reading, and thinking, and failing, make progress happen. Time to better recognize that, I think.

3 thoughts on “Progress

  1. I definitely relate to this.
    There is ALWAYS something to do… and even if you feel like you are finished, you are not. In my case, I am working on my thesis, and every week I make revisions and every week my advisor finds something wrong. Same with conference research submissions… it is never ending.
    But I think at some point, I decided to take it one day at a time. So now I can feel like I've made SOME kind of progress every day. It may not be a a huge step, but it's a step.

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