science

Withhold

Hi everyone,

I have a withhold that I need to address. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a withhold is something that you need to give voice to that happened in the past, which you did not properly address at the time. It is a withhold because it has been affecting you and your life, and you eventually found out that you needed to speak up about it for your own sanity and well-being.

As a disclaimer, my goal here is not to rehash the past, or to blame anyone, but rather to share my feelings authentically and vulnerably about what occurred, with the hope that with this understanding of how it affected me and my feelings, then it would not be repeated again in the future.

The scene is May 2015, and I have just graduated with my master’s degree in geology (geothermal energy) from University of North Dakota. I have packed up all my belongings and I am now driving across the country from North Dakota to Nevada.

As I’m sitting in my car, I’m ruminating about how unsupported I feel from my entire network. I feel completely isolated and alone, not to mention completely unsupported.

For those of you unfamiliar with my story, I had not wanted to get my master’s degree in science; rather, I had wanted to get my master’s degree in music performance. However, after my junior recital at Penn State, my viola teacher had lost confidence in me and my playing. He asked me what I wanted to do after PSU, and I had said that I had wanted to go on and get my master’s degree in music performance and then go on to play music in pit orchestras on Broadway. This was my dream, I had told him, and I was very excited about it.

My teacher promptly told me to give up on my dream, because it sucked. He said that many people embarked on that kind of career with high hopes, but then quickly got tired of the long hours and low pay, and then could not afford to take time off to look for a different job. He didn’t want to see me “backed into a corner with my career,” so he told me to give up on music and become a geologist instead.

Ironically, with this very interaction, I already felt “backed into a corner with my career.” Without the support of my instructor, I didn’t feel either willing or able to pursue my career in music. So even though I was crushed, demoralized, and devastated, I followed his advice, moved to North Dakota, and got my master’s degree in geology.

Even though I liked geology and I liked my professors and colleagues at UND, I knew that this was not the right decision for me and that this was not what I wanted to do with my life. After the excitement of being in a new place with a new plan wore off, I began to really loathe my time in North Dakota. I didn’t feel like I belonged there in terms of the culture and values, and I didn’t feel authentic because I wasn’t following my heart and being creative.

After the incident at PSU, I all but gave up playing my instruments. I played viola in the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, but this was only because my dad had encouraged me to join. In general, I felt very turned off to playing music and instruments and I didn’t want to do it anymore. Writing became my primary creative outlet, and my first summer in ND I wrote my first novel in its entirety.

After writing my novel, I often fantasized about quitting my degree program, moving home to Boston, working at Starbucks, and becoming a writer. However, whenever I shared these dreams and desires with others, I was always brutally rebuffed and unsupported. Without naming names, there were people that I called, so upset that I was crying, and I told them how much I hated my life, how much I hated the direction my life was taking, and how much I wanted to go home, start fresh, and be creative again. I even posted about my goals on Facebook, but people on there were very unsupportive of me and my plan. They told me I had to stay there in ND– even though I was completely miserable– finish my degree program, and “get my piece of paper.”

However, I knew that this would never be the end of it, and I was right. Because I felt again like I was backed into a corner and that I had to take everyone’s advice, I did stay in ND, I did finish my degree program, and I did get my piece of paper. But afterward, all I heard from those same people was that now I had to stay in ND and get a “high-paying geology job” and “use my degree” so that I could be responsible, take care of myself, and pay my bills.

I get it, I really do. As I now know from my adult experience as well as my research on the subject, the scarcity mindset is primarily developed from lack of financial abundance and resources. These people who were giving me this advice had learned themselves that they could not be creative, that they could not have fun, and that they had to be boring and logical to get a steady, high-paying job to pay their bills and be responsible adults. Similar to my viola teacher from PSU, these people had thought they were giving me kindly advice and words of wisdom to help me live a better life, but in fact, they were just telling me their own story of misfortune, not mine.

Going back to the people who did not support my decision to quit my degree program in ND, I understand that too. I understand that these people thought they were being loving, supportive, and helpful, by pushing me to finish what I had started and helping me be accountable to my end-goal of getting my master’s degree in science.

However, both of the above events were very detrimental to my health and well-being. This was a really hard time in my life, and I don’t feel that I received proper love, encouragement, or support from the people in my network. Also, I feel disappointed that most people didn’t even want to hear about my hard time, instead just wanting to be surface level friends. I have always done my best to be a “hard times friend,” so I felt hurt and let down when that favor was not returned.

Furthermore, I felt that the people who encouraged me to stay in ND afterward to pursue a high-paying geology job only cared about finances and financial well-being, at the expense of mentality, emotions, and physical well-being. I felt that they did not really understand me, my needs, my wants, or my desires, because they were just pushing me to continue on a path that I hated, which was not right for me, and which was making me have an autoimmune illness (lupus).

As a result, I felt lonely and like I didn’t have anyone to turn to during hard times that really cared about me and my well being. It caused me to withdraw from my network in isolation, because I didn’t trust others anymore. I began to lose faith in humanity and started grinding my teeth at night.

I felt that the people giving me this advice clearly didn’t know what was best for me, but that they were pushing their advice on me anyway and telling me that their way was valid and that my way was invalid. I felt that they were just saying that in order to be considered a valid adult, I had to be boring and logical and get a steady, high-paying job that I hated, just to pay my bills, just so that I would have a secure financial future, at the expense of my happiness and joy. I felt that they were telling me that it was valid to be logical and scientific, but invalid to be emotional and creative. I felt like my voice didn’t matter, my decisions and opinions were not good enough, and that I needed to change myself and my entire way of being to fit in with everyone and gain everyone’s approval.

However, now I know that this was wrong. There are many people who have become very wealthy and very successful being creative and following their passions. There are also many wealthy people who are silly and fun and who are also very successful in their businesses. And I will be one of them.

Not to mention, I deserve a network of people who support me in my decisions, regardless of the path that I choose to take and regardless of what I choose to do with my life and my time. The right people support my decisions to be creative and pursue a life filled with music, writing, fun, and laughter. I believe that I can have it all, and I deserve relationships with people who also believe that I can have it all.

By the way, I eventually did reconcile myself with the life that I wanted. I started by playing the piano again when I lived in Nevada, and after I moved back home to Boston I joined several orchestras and got back into playing my viola. Even though it was a lot of work to overcome my toxic music school experience, it was worth it because I now very much enjoy playing my viola again and I even very much enjoy performing for other people.

Also, I now work at Starbucks and I’m pursuing being a writer. Go me ūüôā

Anyway, that was my withhold. Thank you for listening to me and for giving me the opportunity to share myself authentically and vulnerably. I am excited for my future of business, creativity, fun, passion, and wealth, and I will be successful in my life just by being my true and authentic self. I hope that you will decide to honor me, respect me, and support me in all of my future endeavors, regardless of what they may be.

 

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New Publication

Hi everyone! I am very pleased to announce that my scientific article has been accepted for publication by the International Journal of Earth Sciences. Check it out here:

Porous Media of the Red River Formation, Williston Basin, North Dakota: A Possible Sedimentary Enhanced Geothermal System
      -International Journal of Earth Sciences (2016)
The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00531-016-1398-9.

I am very pleased that my research has been published in such a prestigious journal. It took a lot of work and a lot of revision to do it, but in the end, I succeeded! I am very proud of how well the final article turned out. I can only hope that my article will be useful to other scientists who are completing similar research!

Now that both halves of my master’s thesis have been independently published (the other half was published by the Geothermal Resources Council in 2015), I want to switch gears and focus on writing my new-adult fiction novels.

I feel a calling in life to help other people. My goal in writing new-adult fiction is to talk about struggles that other people face, but that they are too ashamed to talk about. There is no shame in anybody’s struggles, regardless of whether or not they are “big” or “small,” or¬†regardless of what those struggles¬†even are to begin with. I want people who are struggling and suffering to know that they are not alone out there, that other people go through similar situations as they are, and that there is a way out of those situations¬†to the other side.

I can’t wait until my novels are published. I know that I can impact a great many lives with my writing and that my writing can help to make other people’s lives better. I am still putting the final touches on my first novel, but stay ‘tuned for more updates about that!

Submissions

Hello everyone! It has been a crazy few months, but let me¬†fill you in on all the exciting things¬†I’ve been up to.

First, I completed¬†a second round of revisions for my scientific article. I just finished these last week. I’m not sure how many rounds of revisions there will be before my article gets published, but IJES is very prestigious and thus there might¬†be more revisions to complete in the future.

That being said, the revisions I made in this last round resulted in a very cohesive piece. The article now reads very well, being both concise and informative. So hopefully this set of revisions will be the last before publication, but we will see!

After I submitted¬†my article revisions, I started working again on polishing up my novel. I actually found a new place to submit my novel unsolicited! From my preliminary research, the publisher¬†seems to offer good contracts to their authors, so I figure it’s worth a shot!

Before I submit, I am going through the novel¬†again¬†to¬†make sure that everything is on-point. I have to say, I am really digging this intro with the prologue! It’s funny how when you put something away for a few months and then work on it again, you can see it more clearly with fresh eyes for what it is. This opening works very well!

Last night I polished up the introductory frame, so now I’m working more on the middle section. From the part I read last night, the work I had done a few months ago really paid off! You would never have guessed¬†that the main character had sounded flat at one point. Now she has a really strong voice and a lot of attitude (lol).

Anyway, with the long weekend ahead I am going to work on my novel as much as possible. I will submit very soon! I foresee lots of coffee in my future as I prepare my manuscript. ūüėÄ

Article Revisions

Hi everyone! Sorry to have gone MIA for the past few months. I have been working diligently on my revisions for my scientific article that will be published in the IJES special geothermal edition that is due out in 2017.

The good news is, I’m done (yay!). Well, almost. Tomorrow I need to read through everything one last time before I submit. Also, I need to update my annotated list of corrections with the most current info.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with scientific article revisions, here is what happens. After the article is submitted to the journal, two or three reviewers edit the article. They then provide you with a list of corrections that you must fix within the article. In addition, you must provide an annotated list of corrections that addresses every issue raised by the reviewers; here, you must list either your correction or your rebuttal, if applicable.

So, scientific revisions can take a long time. I decided to tackle the revisions by going through the list of corrections methodically, item by item, and then updating the annotated list as I went along. Some things were quick fixes (such as changes in semantics/word choice, deleting sections, etc.), but others took much longer (such as figuring out how to make a new map when your student edition of the software has already expired).

That last one was fun. Luckily, I remembered that ESRI has an online version of GIS on their website. The information I needed to include in the map was easily found on the online version, so I just did the map that way.¬†The downfall of doing the map online¬†is that you have no control over editing the symbols or colors in the legend or in the map itself (#GISCertNerdProblems). Unfortunately, this was a choropleth¬†map that used varying shades of color to symbolize different categories… yet the online version decided to make the colors into shades of yellow. Yellow! Also, it chose some funky pastel purple color to represent electrical lines. I had to work some Photoshop magic and enlist the help of others with better Photoshop skills than me to help me out of this one. At least the end result¬†shows very nice shades of red for the choropleth part and a solid green color for the power lines.

Anyway, aside from the map SNAFU, the rest of the revisions went pretty smoothly. The revisions that took the longest had to do with fixing issues with the actual content, rather than fixing syntax issues. Once I made my way through the list of revisions, I then went back and edited the article as a manuscript. This took me a bit more time to figure out, because I ended up having to combine two sections together for improved clarity. Finally though I did figure it out and it turned out great!

That’s about it for now. Once I submit my revised article, then I can go back to working on polishing up my novel. I figured out that I can get a lot of writing done if I bring my Surface to work and use my lunch break to write, so I’m going to continue to do that and make more progress!

Welcome!

Hello everyone! Welcome to my website. Feel free to sit back, relax, and make yourself a cup of coffee. Or three.

My name is Caitlin Hartig; I am a new-adult fiction writer who is¬†transitioning from¬†a scientific background. Just last May, I graduated with¬†my Master’s degree in Geology (Geothermal Energy) from University of North Dakota. In May 2013, I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Geosciences from¬†Penn State University. My research¬†has been published in several scientific journals.

As far as fiction goes, I specialize in novels and short stories. My first novel, Smash, has been completed and is awaiting publication. My first short story, Blue Sparkles, has also been completed and is awaiting publication.

Though primarily in the new-adult genre of fiction, my work contains elements of dystopia and dark romance. My writing style has been described as raw, explicit, intense, and dramatic.

In this blog, I will share information about my search for literary agents, my publication information, and of course my writing samples. Stay tuned!