My journey through graduate school has been long and winding, consisting of many different phases:
- Oh my god, what the hell am I doing here?
- I don't think I'm cut out for this.
- Oh well, might as well try the Qualifying Exam.
- What the f*ck? I passed? Maybe I can do this
- I don't want to write my Master's thesis
- Woah I have a Master's
- Hey I could take just a couple courses and get a Math masters
- Okay that was a horrible idea. I'm so bogged down with classes I'm not getting any research done
- Alright! No more classes! Wait
And that brings us, more or less, to the present. I've been thrashing about, trying to get back on the research ball. I have managed to get going somewhat, but as I have been told, it's not enough and should have been done a long time ago. But I'm not about to let that get me down, because that's how I got into this trouble in the first place.
I know that I am intellectually capable of doing research. But graduate research is very different from undergraduate or professional study. I'm not trying to say that they aren't difficult, but essentially, to succeed at either of those, the only thing you really need is diligence, because after a set amount of time and classes you are done. But with research, you need to creative, to get organized, and take action.
I'm really bad at those things. Maybe it's my lack of confidence in myself, but I've always found it difficult to find a problem that no one has ever solved and solve it myself. So I have avoided doing that at all costs, prioritizing other things over research (pretty much every other thing), and doing just the bare minimum to get by.
That isn't good enough. Though others have been quite candid in telling me that, it is only now sinking in to my thick skull. The point is that I finally do realize what I have to do to get somewhere in life. I have wrote about this before here, but I think that was lacking one key ingredient: Fear.
So here I am in, hopefully, a close-to-last phase of my graduate career. It the last, best chance I have to do something I will be proud of.