So this is it, the first blog post but not my first blog post. I intended on installing the backup of my previous blog but figured I’d start fresh. I don’t think there was anything amazing on there and as such decided against it. I also promised myself I’d make my first post pretty promptly after setting up the blog in November but I decided against that too.
“Then why post now?” You may ask. Well I am either procrastinating or simply avoiding doing any further work on my inaugural research presentation. It’s on Thursday. The presentation is perhaps my first ‘milestone’ in my post-graduate career. A career I didn’t think I’d have when I was a graduand as I was very determined to find work the minute I graduated. And I did, in fact I was still technically a graduand when I started the job. However I was also in discussions with academia about a return. Three months after starting work, in what was an excellent workplace with excellent opportunities I had resigned and returned to the academic flock.
“You’re mad.” And I know I am! Which is the advantage I have. I am madder than that though, I turned down shares and a promotion too. “You’re deffo mad!” It wasn’t easy to be this mad I’ll have you know. Perhaps the most difficult decision of my life in 5 years and that too was about doing an under-graduate. The way I figured it was, I’d worked from as young as I could age 14, left home as young as I could age 16, and avoided education in favour of a work ethic, renting and the usual stuff. Sad thing was I was in a career that I was eventually going to get sick of. I was a publican. I had never considered myself as an academic. I simply came to uni because I was trying to escape a career and I was up against spritely young farts with degrees. Not that their degree complimented the job in most cases, I lost out on a consultants job to a geography graduate for example! So the idea of me doing a post-graduate was even more a juxtaposition to being a graduate! Surely the things you never thought you’d do are worth doing? And that’s it. That’s why I am here. And I can’t help but be proud of myself.
I am now coming on to 6 months as a researcher and here’s a few points about my experience:
- Hours- there are none. Or nothing formal at least. You are your own motivator. If you’re going to work from home then you must work from home! It’s not like work when you email someone at silly am to prove you’re on the VPN ready to go.
- Goals- It’s really hard to identify short term goals. Sure milestones exist but not goals and I am not going to write a card for every paper I need to read and every paper I need to make notes on! I envy everyone using agile processes right now in the real world but soon enough I will have agile integrated into this research eventually.
- Reading- Gotta do it. Lots. And lots. And it’s all tangential learning too. If you used to look through the Civilopedia then it’s just like that except more than a few sprites within a turn based strategy rely on your learned spirit. Also I haven’t learned when to stop reading about a given thread or read more. Skills develop with time I guess.
- Writing- I can’t do enough of it. And I don’t. I don’t mean just papers and notes! I guess that’s why I am doing this!
- People- thankfully there are other researchers. If there weren’t I’d have developed twitches in social situations with friends already.
- Grandeur- You think you’ve got an awesome idea and then it turns out you’ve got someone else’s idea. This constantly happens. RAGE!
- Supervisor- best talked about in the company of other researchers! But you gotta learn to want to hug this person but not actually hug them. In fact you probably won’t ever want to hug them. Its like an arranged marriage…Or something.
- Stress/Doubt/Fear- Regularly, without fail!
“All the above in one phrase please.” How about; Culture Shock? “Yes that’ll do.” Awesome. Culture shock is exactly what I have been saying to friends who ask how my research is going. Computer science is what I say to friends who ask what my research is about. No doubt my responses will change when I actually turn the raw ideas into something I can convey in few words. Which should be around 11.30 am this Thursday!
Well I best get back to interacting with Powerpoint. It loves my firm but considered clicks through its ‘SmartArt’ options. I’ll be back sooner than you think.