I had a long meeting with my adviser yesterday. Long as in almost 4 hours. Most of the problems I have are those that I created. I prefer working for long stretches of time, rather than work at things for short periods of time, with many interruptions. I also tend to get started on things late, or get serious about things late, and my efficiency goes up as the deadline nears. But now, with the candidacy proposal, I am faced with a different problem, or different problems. Problems of a nature I haven’t dealt with before. I have to define problems, and then solve them if possible. I have to link quite a few ideas, concepts, or solutions, and compare and contrast them. I have to always remember that quantifying effects, or methods, and measuring improvements is important, even when it is hard to find a common baseline to compare things.

Now the problem is, when I sit to write something, I start with exploring a possibility, and trace it to its possible ‘end’. I see inconsistencies, and can see how I will have a problem if I go down that route, so I drop it and start thinking again, from scratch, with a scratchpad and pencil. So, after a few hours at worst, or two hours at least, I am still where I started with respect to writing the proposal. When I have a meeting with the adviser the next day, I sit down to frame my thoughts, and then I have little or nothing to actually write, that will make coherent sense! This will not do, and now I have the daunting task of using the next 2-3 days to write a coherent proposal, with some conclusions and a plan for future work. There are times when I admire my adviser for his patience and level-headedness. I would have shouted at Carthik quite a few times by now! I don’t want to think of the worst that could happen. Those thoughts are shut out, for now.

After the meeting, I went home, and did not have any energy, so I fell asleep in front of the TV, before actually going to sleep a little later, and for the first time in a year or more, I did not turn on my laptop after getting home.

I miss having a lot of fun, I miss my daily dose of browsing, chatting, and the WordPress work, but I will be able to get back to normal, and spare some time for my interests beyond the Ph.D. in a week at best, and after three weeks at worst. I miss life, but that’s only normal, or so I hear from others who have been here, where I am right now.

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4 Responses to Marathon

  1. Hanni says:

    I hope it works out for you in the end.
    I look forward to catching up with you when you’re ‘free’. :)

  2. Carthik says:

    Hi Hanni,
    Thanks a lot! I certainly hope it works out for the better, in the end. I am having fun, just a different kind of fun, and it takes getting used to, if a little.
    One of these days, I am going to take a short reprieve from research, as soon as I am done with the pressing stuff. Hope to catch you then, for sure :)

  3. Panda says:

    I have pressing things to do for my PhD and yet I find myself here reading your blog :)
    Good luck with it all

  4. jim says:

    Howdy… thinking of re-entering grad school for a doctorate in EE this Fall after two years of traveling around the world. Came across your site, thought i’d say, hey, nice job! Inspires me to set up something similar of my own, to learn the process…

    As for the whole grad study thing, it sure is hard to reconcile the urge to live with the urge to make the most of a capable mind. I’m wrestling now with demons over whether a PhD is worth the years of commitment or not, as I slowly build my applications. Any thoughts on the matter?