Friday, April 12, 2013

One more week

One more week to go !!! There's more excitement than worry right now. Perhaps it's the caffeine.

Looking back at my previous entry. I think I sounded juvenile. Oh whatever.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sometimes... Perhaps... - a soliloquy

The road to qualifying hasn't been smooth but it's been too rough either; could have been worse. Now that I have only 2 more weeks to go for my quals, I am feeling restless. This is my usual jumpiness, especially whenever there is a preliminary round of something and then a final round - I end up doing badly for the final round... 

Sometimes, the jumpiness involves me raising doubts about my PhD crusade. Like now. I am keenly aware that I am surrounded by brilliant minds, talking brilliant sense, and doing brilliant things. Sometimes, I just feel so tiny against this whole backdrop and I start wondering if I am ever cut out to be here at all... Which is dumb. Because I am here. And I should be focusing on being here and not anywhere else.

It's like I am so different from so many of them. I am not fast in thought and I am not versed in method. So what am I actually? In this cutthroat world of the intellectuals, I try to work as much as I can, but I take so many breaks and shortcuts, they almost always make me feel guilty - to myself and to people around me. I make a fool out of myself during meetings asking seemingly dumb questions. I try to think if the colleague sitting next to me picturing me as a dud, trying to make a living out of smoke bombs. Or my supervisors haven't already found out that I am masquerading as an intellectual. Or perhaps that's where my challenge lies, to blend in. But it's so tiring blending in, treading on fine lines and playing political games, when you know the moment you bare yourself, people might recoil and turn away. Perhaps to be thick-skinned, is the lesson I should learn. An emotional Colossus.

I am also poignantly aware that my work is sometimes very different from the other people around me. It is first very eclectic, which sometimes makes me wonder if this runs counter to the theme of a PhD - to be very knowledgeable in a specific field. In another way, perhaps my PhD is in broadness, but to be very 'deep' in broadness, would probably be either oxymoronic or require me to be very versed in every field - which is itself insurmountable in my opinion. Or, it can be sarcastic too and a mockery at the PhD system, in even allowing me to do a PhD in the first place. Perhaps, I am just wasting time and resources. Perhaps, I am just waiting to be weeded. Perhaps, I am one of those outliers that fall at the other end of the success spectrum...

My different work, foreign drawl and unintelligible gestures garner numerous uninterested, glazed looks whenever I give talks. My own inspiration for my work starts to wane exponentially. Sometimes, it's hard to distinguish if I am here to try to be more versed, or thick-skinned or both... So, an afterthought is the rationalization that I tend to be sensitive to other people's opinions of me. Even though over the years I have been honed to disregard that ultimately, my natural instinct always kicks in first such that the damage has already been done - so in effect, you disregard the wound but not the act of wounding.

Quals is around the corner but I am letting my imagination run wild and not focusing... Perhaps that's why in the first place I do badly for final rounds. Or perhaps...