25 April 2017

PhD life for me: what makes it hard

now every single time i got sick of my phd project, one of the things that i like to do to cheer myself up is to look back to how far i have walked to this day..... but instead of cheering me up, it sometimes made the sickness even worse :')

so what is it that makes this life is a lot harder than i thought it would be?

#1 i am going through this by myself. all this. 
i am not saying that i didn't receive any help whatsoever, but from the beginning to the end, it is me who plan things, it is me who decide what to do step by step, and it is me who should be answering questions. there will be a lot of "it is me" sentences i could elaborate here, including lots and lots and lots of trial and errors with the software you are not familiar of and how you can import, export, re-import, and re-export certain data in a format that could be read and written by different packages of software. my supervisor is always there to discuss, especially for problems that are extremely technical and iterative, but for questionable results, let us repeat, it is me who should find out why it behaves that certain way.

all-by-myseellffff. dowonebee. alll-by-myyyyseeelfff. anemmmooohhhh!!!!

#2 there are just too many things to read. 
when i first got to this project, i was excited AF in reading lots and lots of references related to my area of research. but the more i know, the more i am curious, the more papers i downloaded, the less time i actually have to finish them all. yes, my way of reading have evolved in a certain way so i could skip unimportant parts of such paper..... and i have managed to minimize the need to google every single unfamiliar geological term as they have become more and more familiar to me. but still. sometimes i just can't control the amount of papers i wanna read, while the data sets are there, in my PC, waiting to be touched. i. just. can't.

#3 finding constructive people. 
look. when you're a phd student, you are considered as one of the brightest person in your area........ while i never really see myself that way. so, these consciously bright people, unlike me, take everything so lightly. mid-year report? naah, don't worry, it's nothing. first-year report and meeting (kind of a...... defense)? naah, it's nothing, chances you're going to fail is too little to be worried about. i don't know why, it's quite hard to find people in the same year as i am who are as worried sick as myself and, you know, willing to share and talk about our progress seriously. i do have constructive colleagues from other departments, but come on, who knows better than the people in the same department? but well.. sometimes it's about expertise as well. you can't really talk with just any people, even though there are, a-lot-of-them. and from those many people, i have only found one person, who is truly, truly humble, helpful, and 'speaks the same language' as i do (not literally, i mean, we could understand each other's project so we could have that 'window of discussion'). one. one!

#4 as i have experienced working in companies, the daily tension is not as constant.
it is really hard to keep my working pace stable while no significant achievements could be made in a short term period. in companies, people are used to work on repetitive tasks with slightly different phenomenon and troubleshoot faced. in a phd project, everything is troubleshoot. everything is phenomenon. every single thing is a why. hence, it is really, really tiresome for a still overly-practical person inside this scientist-masked face of mine. i need certainty! i need accomplishments!

#5 facing the fact that... i am already that far.
the easiest thought that would pop off my head is always: to quit. done. bye. see ya. but i am so thankful that i could still find constructive people surrounding me, though it's getting harder and harder to find someone you can actually talk to, sincerely. every single time i feel like i wanna quit, i take a look at my age. i take a look at my peer's age. as we're peers, we're about the same age. but we have went quite different ways. most of my friends who started as professional, continues as professional, with better position and/or pay-off, of course. those who chose academic path, have even went ahead more rapidly than i am. me? though my pace is slower, i have already stepped this far in the academia world. if i turned back, i would lose.... those 5 years since my graduation in 2012. 5 years honey, 5 years! ...so yea, it is such a burden to me... to finish what i have started.

hence, the road is still..... far ahead. i took this path with full consciousness. yes i know it's getting harder and much more complicated than expected. but...... Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9).

may God bless whatever it is He plans for this annoying child of His.

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