A list of intentions I have for my PhD and my life in Germany over the next 5ish years.

Some of these are conditional on what COVID looks like and when I feel comfortable doing these activities again, but broadly, my intentions are:

  1. Get decent at speaking and understanding German
  2. Travel in Europe
  3. Drive on the Autobahn
  4. See 200 European bird species
  5. Make non-academic local friends
  6. Make trans and non-binary local friends
  7. Build local queer community
  8. Meet some cool nerds to nerd out with about CS and linguistics stuff
  9. Do Advent of Code with some of them
  10. Learn some new things in school
  11. Do some cool projects (of any and all kinds)
  12. Try to teach if possible
  13. Learn how to write a paper
  14. Learn what on earth "doing research" is supposed to look like
  15. Do research
  16. Pay attention to the authors you are reading and the authors you are citing
  17. When you inevitably see problems with these lists, fix them
  18. Learn what the following words mean, enough to theoretically work them into your dissertation if you later decide to - ontology, intertextuality, epistemology, monad
  19. Hone your science communication skills and tell non-CS-PhDs about cool research accessibly (start a local Nerd Nite!?)
  20. Don't die
  21. Don't implode emotionally
  22. Quit if the program feels like it's destroying your soul
  23. Set good boundaries for yourself, for your people, about work and emotions and downtime and everything
  24. Go to more opera, ballet, theatre performances
  25. Find a local indie cinema like the ones you had in Vancouver
  26. Write, please (and I mean writing for pleasure / learning / recordskeeping, not just academic writing)
  27. Take care of your body
  28. Take care of your mind (keep going to therapy)
  29. Stay in touch with the folks who have helped you get here
  30. Host as many non-local friends as you can within reason
  31. Don't forget anyone in your acknowledgements, do not be that person, do not embarrass yourself 5 years from now
  32. Speaking of not embarrassing yourself - look at a map, several times, and get so much better at knowing relative geography in Europe
  33. Read some books to learn about German history
  34. Continue to make people around you consider issues of race, gender, sexuality, ability, neurodivergence, etc.
  35. But be careful you do it sustainably and don't burn out on it
  36. No more DEI work for free for any for-profit institutions (this has been my rule in 2021)
  37. Lift up and mentor your peers and more junior folks, both local and remote - especially folks whom you know to be systemically at a disadvantage in academia / tech / society
  38. Be generous
  39. Be gentle
  40. With yourself too
  41. No, really, please do not die or implode, and do literally whatever the fuck it takes to make that happen
  42. Do more photography, make more music, make more art
  43. Find a dark place somewhere in town where you can look up at the night sky and see stars
  44. Forgive yourself for all the plants you are certainly going to kill
  45. Figure out the shortest and/or cheapest path to the ocean
  46. Have good sex - but not with undergrads or professors or really anyone else with whom there's a power imbalance (this is obvious enough to me that I feel it shouldn't need to be explicitly mentioned but some people are really weird!)
  47. Ask for help - you WILL need it
  48. If you haven't asked for help in a while, ask for help with something anyway
  49. Find an advisor who has priorities similar to the ones on this list, and who will remind you and help you when you're slipping up on yours
  50. Don't take this list too seriously - don't self-flagellate when you slip up