Back when I was in high school I knew I would go to college and expected I would live a decent life, similar to my mom's. I had hopes of being a physician, but not a whole lot of confidence that would happen. I didn't know what else was out there, but I never thought I would go further then getting a college degree.
When I was in college I knew I had to do something after graduation. I didn't just want to work away in a doctor's office for the rest of my life, no way. I had to do something, I needed to move on, but I honestly never thought I would actually graduate with an advanced degree!
I confessed to my husband a few years ago that when I started grad school my goal was to get out of town and try something new for a few years, I never thought I would actually finish! When I started, my goal was to write a paper. So that when I had a family one day, and grandchildren, that I could point to that paper that I wrote and my grandchildren would think me smart. And my name would live on long after I had passed. Somewhere buried in the journals of a library. My "publication list" pales in comparison to many of my friends and colleagues due to the nature of my work, but it goes beyond a single entry.
Once I made it through grad school my confidence increased dramatically. When I didn't get the same answer as the back of the book, I checked my work and went on, knowing that the answer in the back could very likely be wrong. And I was often right. I hope for a good and stable job, but I never thought I would be where I am now.
I started at the lab shortly after the group I was joining had won an R&D 100 award. I was proud to say I worked with that group. They were proud of their accomplishment. I occasionally met others who had won the award, but the Oscars of Innovation are few and far between. I never thought I would win one.
Then on Thursday, I found out we did!
(Link to the press release, official announcement coming next Wednesday.)