Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stress, Life and Grad School

Doing PhD is now getting nasty. Too many deadlines to meet. The ever-heightening greed to materialize all your research ideas - get them published. Coursework, none the less as well. The desire to get noticed in the research community. Keep up with the new upcoming work being done so rapidly (read literature very frequently to keep up the pace). Writing efficient code - preventing the reinvention of the wheel. The increasing complexity of the math model. Even including organizing and backing up the data properly, year after year. And the list could go on.

There are mostly no insights in this blog post; other than the self realization of how busy life has gotten already and how much more it is going to get in the next 2-3 years. I am about to be done with my coursework next semester, so that brings up the question of whether I could take the comprehensive and proposal defense in next Spring. Not sure - depends on a lot of factors. But I think I know my thesis problem - have a broad idea. Let's see how it goes.

In a way these short term deadlines, work stress and always the penchant to learn more and discover more is the most beautiful time of grad school. All this is keeping me very busy, and although right now I am stressed, but I am loving it in a way. Makes me cross over the past - focus and look forward to something else in the near future.

I met a senior researcher from Adobe Research, Boston yesterday. Rightly said by him, grad school is the best time to try and feel free to do whatever that interests you; if your advisor lets you do that, it is perfect. Else the leisure time is always there - after all, research is a passion so could be a hobby as well. It is true - I want to make use of this time of my life in the best possible manner. He was also saying, grad school is also so nice because you don't have to worry about life - getting married, having kids, their education, your professor tenure, and the list goes on.

Though neither marriage, nor kids (of course not their education as well!) or being a professor (a long term goal ideally) isn't at all on my cards as of now and this would be the same for quite a long time I guess. But sure, it does seem grad school is really the last time you get to breathe and feel independent in whatever you want to do! I wonder why it is not so apparent!

3 comments:

Uday Kumar said...

I totally agree with you about doing what interests you in grad school...It gives you freedom to do research in your are of interest rather than do something in the area of interest of some commercial establishment. You put my current perspective of grad school into the last two paras.

Aparna Kar said...

Wait till you do your post-doctorate lady. Kidding! But there's a satisfaction for a job well-done at the end. And anyways, grad school (or any school) is just a preparation for life. And if it (or the extension of it) is what you have chosen to do for the rest of your life, then you better start enjoying it. Even if it means keeping wake till the wee end hours of the night, being on intravenous caffeine , and walking like a zombie for the next few days - high on sleeplessness. And oh yeah- about independence- it's just a perception. There's no absolute freedom.

Munmun said...

@ Aparna
I am not sure if I will be doing Post Doc - but yeah, it is a good time for an academia transition. Well I agree there is no absolute freedom - but isn't everything about perception? We come to grad school or any other school in the perception we will like it. Also liking can't be forced - no one can be forced to like grad school unless he or she really wants to ! So is independence I believe !