There used to be this soccer team who kicked our butts every time we played them. They were bigger, stronger, and much more able than us. After all, we were a ragtag bunch who mostly practiced by playing pick-up games here and there. We were not that organized. As a result, we got beat severely by them each and every time.

It got so bad that I absolutely dreaded playing them. I got a sick feeling to my stomach every time, and — because of my age — I lost my temper early into the game, effectively taking myself out of the game because my head was no longer in it. Then I’d just stand back and throw up my arms and watch them run circles around us. It happened often enough that I still get that weird feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think about it.

With age has come wisdom. Not only do I know how to take on difficult challenges, but I am wise in my approach to said challenges. (There’s a difference between knowledge and wisdom, someone once said.) No longer do I throw my arms up and give up. No longer do I watch people run circles around me and beat me. If they beat me, they’re going to have to fight me for it.

So I go into the fourth term of my second year of doctoral school after a previous brutal “beating” from such subjects as biostatistics, genetic epidemiology, and longitudinal data analysis. And I am not going to give up, not when I’m so close to being done with classes and starting my thesis work.

Like the soccer games after those “beatings,” I’m going to look to my bad performances and see what I can improve on. The bad habits will be done away with. The good habits will be embraced.

Let’s do this.

Written by

Doctor of Public Health in Epidemiology. Associate at JHSPH. Adjunct at George Mason Univ. Epidemiologist at a large County Health Department. Father. Husband.

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