Friday, February 09, 2007

How do they know?

Another unsuccessful week has come to an end. I've decided to take off for two or three days- go up to the mountains to write, or go to my sister's to not write. One of those two things. I am getting quite tired of this. Unfortunately, thanks to teaching, I cannot take more than 3 days off. I have a choice at this point- stop at a stopping point, close shop, write it up and leave. Or stay on, chase the proverbial pot of gold that I just had a fleeting glimpse of and that eluded me since. There's no telling I'll find it, but it's a decision I need to make now. I am well aware that this is the classic "mistake" most graduate students make. Things can always get better, more can always be done, the paper can always be sexier. But there is wisdom in recognizing the difference between what is sufficient, what is necessary and plain old wishful thinking or "pet theories" (That have some validity, I might add) ;). On the other hand, it's not like I have a job waiting for me, so what next?

Don't know. I know what my advisor wants- and I know she is wise and experienced and I should just listen to her. But when have I ever listened to anyone? ;) Anyways, time, gels and parasites will tell. :-) I am not exactly looking for answers here, just ranting.

Last night, I talked to my dad- about everything else except this shit. Because this shit is old, and I can keep talking about it, going in circles. And honestly, I can paint this really depressing picture. (Like you all have seen ;) ) The truth is, it's not all that bad, and it is not a rare turn of events at all, in grad school life. So I will take things as they come, and eventually, they will pan out.

My parents don't read my blog. They have never lived in a grad-school setting or been exposed to the vagaries of this life, and the uncertainty that shrouds finishing up. I know they are looking forward to see me finish, get out, go out, get a life, get a real job ( I have broken it to them that a post-doc is not a real job ;)). I know they are waiting to inundate me with matchmaking efforts and embark on the groom hunt. They must also be eagerly be waiting to see me, it's been so long.

In spite of all of that, they're the only people who do not piss me off with annoying questions or references about my impending graduation. They have never said stuff like "When is this ending? It's gone on so long. We want to see you settled". They never ask me "did you find a job? will it be close to your sister's? we want you to be near her"- although I know that's what they're dearly hoping for. They just know, I'll tell them if there's something to share, else it's all status quo. These days, I have nothing meaningful to add to phone conversations with anyone. "What's new?" - "Nothing". "Aur batao" - "nothing" (gritting teeth because that aur batao shit gets on my nerves). In spite of having nothing to talk about, my parents are the only people left that I can have a conversation with and not be irritated. Just how do they do it?


qsg said...

Totally agree with, aur batao, what's news? Anything new?

Hang in there! :)

Anonymous said...

Why not become a prof and continue the work??

And thanks for putting the label as 'Rhetorical'. I had almost answered the question.

Neihal said...

as QSG said hang in there :)
me wonders why it is 'hang in there', why not stay there, sit there...I mean hanging is mighty painful thing to do.

Sakshi said...

There is light at the end of the tunnel. Just hang in there.

qsg said...

@sakshi: sure it's not the train? ;)
kidding kidding!

Lajjo, come to boston - to experience the frigid cold - you might start appreciating the experiments! :)

Rebellion said...

Yaar Lajjo, i'll have to think before talking to you now! Though I know its irritating, I say that "aur batao" a loooooooot!!! Baap re, sochna padega :P

Vaise this was a sad but cute little rant :) Don't worry, as Gems said, just 'hang in there' :)

Take care,

The Smiling Girl said...

By being friends and not the typical parents!
Darling Lajjo, I know your spirits are same as usual and you are going to go through the shit or whatever and emerge a winner.. (*Sigh*)

Seriously jokes apart, I think you will do it re...

I will tell u the easiest way though - Hop, and get into the 36 hr long flight, jump and meet Mommy-Daddy and then your dearest SGee... :D

Stay on baby.. life is gonna be cool...

The Smiling Girl said...

Ab woh sab chodo... aur batao... :D

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

yes, i will. :-)

hmm..good q. cannot because in the five or more years between now and me even possibly becoming a prof, this work will either have been done, or have lost it's significance. :( the other depressing thing is nobody is going to follow my work in my lab. if they did, i'd probably feel less desperate and clingy about it.
hehee. so true. :-)

yes, i will. :-)

lol. i'll take the train at this point. i can make it stop! ;)

yes please, fortunately, i haven't been at the receiving end of it from you. nahi to you would've found out how much i despise that phrase. :)

:-) thanks girl. will be on that flight soon- it's a matter of a few months. can't tell you how much i'm looking forward to it.

sd said...

Hang in there. We are sure you will do super well!

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

yes, will do, sd. thanks :-)

Rahul said...

About the PhD, it's simple -- if you have enough material to write a good dissertation (or, which is much the same thing, if you have enough publications under your belt to get a good postdoc position), write up the damn thesis. Don't be a perfectionist about it. Only 4 people are ever going to read it -- you, your advisor and a couple of referees.

If you don't have the material to secure your next position, of course you should wait.

And you can chase that pot of gold afterwards, it's really not tied to your thesis. Many people continue their PhD work (part time) for up to a year into their postdoc position. (I guess it's harder to do that in experimental fields, but even in that case, you can see if you can get a temporary 6-month position in your present lab after submitting the thesis.)

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

hi rahul,
yeah- a lot of what you said is what i've been getting from my advisor and "wiser" friends. my graduating is contingent on me submitting my next paper - i can submit it with or without that "pot of gold". it would just kill me to submit it without it and have someone else find it.

there's no other way for me to continue in my present lab except by being a student, there are no other ways of funding. and yeah- i cannot pack up this stuff and take it to my hypothetical future lab. :-) and the truth is, i am very loathe to spending any more time here, in as much as i want to find that pot of gold. hence i'm torn. but we will see. thanks for your comment.

Tabula Rasa said...

a maxim's that's always worked for me is -- your advisor's gut is bigger than yours. as long as you think she wishes you well, follow her advice. and i agree with rahul -- don't shoot for perfection. you have a whole career to do that. (post-tenure :-p)

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

hi tabula rasa,
hmm hmm. :-) i agree. not striving for perfection, just being clingy about my project- which is probably more foolish.

lol @ post-tenure. :-)

p.s: @ everyone, the post was about my parents!!!! the other rant is old and tiresome and overdone- even for me! ;)

Heh Heh said...

I recently had a very similar choice. There are times when leaving appears attractive, especially when you *do* have a job waiting for you. But then you think of the years you have put in and wonder if, ten years down the line, whatever you do, you will kick yourself for having been so close and missing out on it.

I'm probably staying for another year. I have grown tired of this place, and I know I will be more comfortable outside. But it seems worth it.

been there done that said...

LOL! at "@ everyone, the post was about my parents!!!!"

touchy eh? ;) let's hope the reiteration also helps, and not only annoys. :D

you are right, things will pan out eventually, and there is no end to looking back and wondering "what if". but it doesn't help.

Sunil said...

I haven't still figured out if it was better to graduate and become a postdoc, or if it would have been more fun to remain a grad student for a little longer. You might think i'm insane, but once you graduate and do something else (postdoc or find a "real" job), you'll miss grad school.

sumit_tada said...

I am blogging (yet) again :) at
Will read your loooong post tmrw, and comment on that, abhi to bahut late ho gaya!

Ravi said...

I hope my 'psychobabble' helped!!! well, I am in a similar situation, with failing experiments, feeling like a 'glorified pipetter' (:))). Now, do you see the inspiration behind my article! Good luck, and enjoy your short vacation..

Revealed said...

Flippancy as KG would say is what is required :P

shub said...


sumit_tada said...

Hmmm.....though I am not competent enuf to give suggestions, but me thinks that its very likely that u will get same kind of (or better) job,if u hurry up or wait for "golden pot" but if u leave in hurry,its very unlikely that you will be a student again! isnt it? Then why not give it a try when u can, and moreover when even your parents and guide are not having any problem with it, then i dont see any reason to give up and pack up in hurry!
Just my way of thinking.....

jane said...

coz parents are just the bestest gifts anyone could ever receive! :P mushy? v=day is coming no...therefore.

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

hi heh heh
:-) heh heh i like your name. good luck to you.

hello, been there done that,
:-) well..not really annoyed. it was, er.. might i say , "tongue in cheek". yes, i agree with you looking back doesn't help.

hi sunil,
no, you're not insane. but i want to be in that place where i can look back and say "ah, i miss school". :-)

oye sumit!
theek hai. welcome back. :)

yes, it did. thanks :-)


thanks girl. :-) that's just the right thing needed.

sumit. one will complain if i stay on, but i don't know if i want to, and if it will be worth it. dekhtein hain. :-)

:-)))))))) yes they are.

Revealed said...