My first talk!

My first talk was a success! About 40 people attended, which I have been told several times by the different librarians, was a crowd for an event at this small library. I was honored that one friend made the trip up from Boston, and that my friend Hannah returned home from NYC where she is now living to attend my talk! (Unfortunately, neither one could stick around to hang out afterward). Although I had, from time to time, worried about both the structure and content of my talk beforehand, my instincts turned out to be justified. The audience was engaged throughout, clapped after I gave my initial talk, and then when my slideshow concluded, they wouldn’t stop clapping! It was almost embarrassing. I wasn’t sure what to do. But it was a nice recognition of the months that I had spent working on this project. Although my delivery was not perfect, I learned where I need to work on a few transitions. The presentation was exactly an hour long and then I had about 20 minutes of questions. Upon leaving, one lady commented that she felt so inspired and that she now had to figure out what she was going to do (she didn’t think it was hiking)! This was my intention for the talk, and I am so happy that it was received this way. The director of the library even said that I should come back in a few months and present it to a different crowd! I can’t think of a better compliment than that! This experience has proven to me the importance of listening to yourself first and foremost. I received advice from several people in regards to their ideas of how I should structure my talk, but the response I received showed me that my initial instincts were right. It is so important to be true to yourself. Because my talk revolved around universal principles, everyone (whether they are a hiker or not) could relate to at least some part of what I was speaking about.
I have a second talk scheduled for a library in a neighboring town on June 30th, as well as at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center at the base of Mount Washington in August! The main branch of my town library also wants me to give the talk there (either in the summer or fall), I might speak at the Highland Center in the White Mountains this summer or fall, and am on the list of speakers to present at a newly formed monthly-inspirational series in Wellesley this fall or winter. I may also speak at the Boston chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club in October.

Things on the job-front continue to be stalled. Eight months after I finished my hike, I haven’t earned a single dollar aside from my one original yoga class per week (which now is not even covering gas money!). It is almost comical… Almost. I did receive 2 calls from labs who praised my science resume in the past two weeks (took a long time!). It appears that I did not pass the phone screen from the Novartis researcher to proceed with an interview. He asked me if I could present a talk to both his group and another. Since we spoke the day after I gave my PCT presentation, I said, “Yes!”. However, I then realized that he wanted a presentation on my previous research. I still agreed, now feeling confident that I can actually speak in front of people and offer a presentation. But then, I realized I had no scientific images to work with. My own project which resulted in a first-author Science paper was published way back in 2001! Practically in the Dark Ages! It was the age of slides and those translucent films that could be slapped on an enlarger. I have no science-related images on my personal computer! He agreed that it would be hard to give a presentation without images. I then thought about all of the hours it had taken to put together my PCT slideshow, and honestly, to be given a 1/3 chance of getting this position (he wanted to interview at least 2-3 other candidates), the time it would take to put something like this together would hardly be worth it. I didn’t go to graduate school. I’m not applying for a post-doc position (which seems a lot easier to get!). And I think I caused the guy too much concern that I would soon leave to go off on another hike! And rightly so!
Today, I spoke with a woman about a part-time lab position, but it pays so little, that together with my 8 upcoming yoga classes a week (still yet to start…), I still wouldn’t be able to cover my basic living costs and would be working an insane amount of hours! I realized that this just isn’t making sense. I can’t drive all over the place, pay for gas (pollute the environment), be stuck in traffic, to teach classes which pay me nothing in return.

I have concluded that the only way to pay my expenses will be to take a full-time job. Two weeks ago, while looking through my daily job listings, I actually found and applied to a position that would combine my history of research experience with my interest in mind/body health! The commute would be tolerable for me, and I would be able to get to my yoga classes afterward (which is incredibly important to me! When you teach yoga, you sacrifice going to the classes you wish you could go to!). I feel that after months and months of being in a highly confused state, I have reached a great degree of clarity within the past two weeks. And now, I am simply left waiting and hoping that these people will call me and offer me an interview. If any of you are inclined and wish to send some good energy for this to align, I would really appreciate it! Thank you so much!

“As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.”
-Marianne Williamson

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