Sunday, March 30, 2008

Don't think so much.

This last week or so I've been trying to stay in Work Mode and out of Self-Aware Mode.

Work Mode has been going along just fine. I'm getting things done. I have very specific, task-oriented goals in mind.

Only problem is that a friend came into town this weekend whom I haven't seen in a while.

Inevitably the questions are all about where I am with my life.

Which I'm not too happy about.

So I am trying hard to stay out of Self-Aware Mode. I think I have to stay in this particular sewage pipe until I can ride it into the ocean. So there's not much point in thinking about how much it stinks.

But it's hard when I finally take the time to get caught up on reading my favorite grad student blogs, and they're all graduating.

Where am I? Wishing I were getting on with my life, instead of stuck in the same sewage pipe.

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6 Comments:

At 3:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

better to be self-aware than be ignorant of your present status. it may be painful to do a reality check, but it'll help you set goals and whatever in the long run.

 
At 5:09 PM, Blogger ScienceGirl said...

Aw, your description is too accurate. But how does one shut off the "where the hell is the end of this tunnel?"?

 
At 11:40 PM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

anon,

I think you can be too self-aware and just end up second-guessing yourself all the time and getting in your own way. It's why being too self-conscious is generally a bad thing.

sciengirl,

I did okay in grad school with the whole "plug your nose and just keep going" mentality because the size, shape and destination of the grad school tunnel is a little more defined.

There's a lot to be said for keeping your nose so close to the grindstone that you can't see anything beyond it.

Problem with the postdoc tunnel is that nobody's really sure where it goes. Lately I feel like every time I get to a fork in the road, I struggle with making the right choice but no matter which way I go, I feel like I always end up going in circles.

 
At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Abel Pharmboy said...

Have you read "Eat, Pray, Love" yet? I think you'd really enjoy it - not about science at all, just a great read about a life journey.

 
At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lately I feel like every time I get to a fork in the road, I struggle with making the right choice but no matter which way I go, I feel like I always end up going in circles.

The ambiguity doesn't go away once you become PI. Part of the transition out of postdoc-ness (IMO) is developing coping mechanisms/support networks/whatever to get beyond this point of being trapped in a circle or feeling like you're trapped in a circle.

With apologies to Woody Allen:

"I think [research] is like a shark. You know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies."

If you're constant feeling like you're going in circles, you probably really aren't going anywhere. "And I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark."

You definitely don't want to go into a faculty position where you only have a few years to prove yourself without a well-established toolset to get over them and get on with it.

 
At 9:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

cheer up... when sharks are circling, watch out! :)

 

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