This fall, I’m applying to PhD programs in sustainable urban development. I’ve identified three programs that are a good fit for me, but I’m not waiting to be accepted to begin my work. I’m starting now, today, since I already have my broad thesis question: how do we turn New York City into the most sustainable, healthy, clean, and equitable city in the world?
I’ve outlined my next ten months of study while I wait to see which programs accept me. Each month, I’ll be researching how all of the New York City agencies within each city agency category work. Those categories are: Business, Civil Services, Culture and Recreation, Education, Environment, Health, Housing and Development, Public Safety, Social Services, and Transportation. Every day I’ll spend some time doing this research and carefully cataloging all of my learnings to use in my thesis, and in my life’s work.
I can’t say that I came up with this plan alone. I often call my friend, Alex, and say something like, “I’ve got a crazy idea.” I love Alex because her response is always some variation of, “Oh great! What is it?” Alex and I were talking two weeks ago and we both said we felt like we were in a little bit of a low point. We needed to do something to get ourselves out of that. I wasn’t sure what that would mean for me, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot ever since our conversation. Now I know. If you find yourself in a funk, get yourself a friend like Alex who is unwaveringly supportive and constantly encouraging me to be better.