Dereliction of Duty: The Didactic Express, Day 21

My supervisor sent me an e-mail this afternoon, informing me that my work on my thesis is several weeks behind schedule. Frankly, I think that his schedule is a little bit ridiculous; he insists that I defend in the first week of November when I in fact have until the middle of December to do so…but even so! I feel terribly ashamed over how little I have accomplished on this subject.

There was a time, believe it or not, when I considered myself to be an extremely studious person who would always get her work done precisely on time. But ever since I moved-out here…I just haven’t felt it.

Part of this is that, to some extent, the extreme studiousness was something that I did instead of living; as I have since taken ownership of my life* I have perhaps felt less need to bury myself in work.

To a greater extent, however, I think that the main difference is in fact that I actually enjoyed the work that I was doing for my undergraduate degree. Ever since I came to graduate school, however, I have had the overwhelming impression that I am simply forcing myself to do what needs to be done in order to get my damn Master’s. This is, needless to say, a much poorer motivator than genuine enjoyment. And it’s really rather difficult to feel overly motivated when your own supervisor doesn’t consider any of your theoretical results to be interesting enough to merit publication**…or, for that matter, when you are writing your thesis under what is, essentially, now an alias, because you can’t trust him with the knowledge of who you really are.

So today’s moral is:

Do what you love, rather than what you think will be prestigious.

Or, perhaps more honestly:

Grad students get really, really testy when they enter the homestretch.


*To the point of “customizing” my body, at the risk of grotesquely oversimplifying a really quite complicated issue.

**Although, my former undergraduate supervisor, when I chatted with him about my research a few months ago, seemed to think that I could garner two or three papers out of my findings.


About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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