So Let it be Written, So Let it be Done!

October 2, 2010

This Doesn’t Have a Title

Filed under: grad school,kamakula — kamakula @ 2:17 pm

Yes, that’s right. This post does not have a title. Though it’s not a gimmick or device of some sort. I just couldn’t think of one. When I try to pick out a string of words to use, I end up experiencing the swirl of thoughts and only grasp random words. My past experience with the mind storm (that’s what I’m calling it here) – which I know despite sounding like “brain storm”, actually refers to an inability to generate ideas in my case, has usually been on tests or working on a difficult project or problem. I try to think of a complete solution, but my mind is too chaotic and I can’t really see much in the storm.

It is a frustrating experience and the way out is to stop and just start doing what you already know. Don’t worry about figuring out now the complete sequence of steps from start to finish, just begin. We all know the basics, usually of whatever it is we are attempting to do. So rather than obsess over figuring out a complete solution, I just start the problem. Write down what I know, the basic calculations or information you’re supposed to extract. . . and as you do this, something magical happens. You’re making progress. Putting one foot in front of the other and in many cases you arrive at a solution.

So, rather than spend the next few hours trying to figure out a title, I’ll just write. The title can sort itself out on it’s own. I republished some posts that I’d previously unpublished for various reasons. The short summary is that my gf and I had broken up, gotten back together, and now have broken up again.

I had a thought as I was prepping a late breakfast that all of my relationships seem to have fallen apart at the beginning or end of a school year. Though further reflection indicates this is likely just coincidence without any meaningful significance since I’ve been in relationships that lasted through those periods in other years. I guess the real takeaway is that I’ve been spending too much of my life in school, and perhaps to not enter into serious relationships until after i’m done.

Speaking of which, as of 4pm yesterday, I finished my comprehensive exams. We’ll get the official pass/fail email in a week. Of the four exams, I feel extremely good about two, pretty good about the third, and no so great about the fourth. I suppose I’d expected to do the worst on that one, but I still feel bad about it. Regardless, I think I’m still going to pass since I didn’t totally screw it up and I did well on the others. The minimum grade to pass is a 3.25. Given that I expect A’s on the other three, the only way I’d not end up with an average of 3.25 or better is to have gotten an F on the fourth.

Failure. If I was working full-time and after 3.5 years of work had a screw up that got me fired, I could likely get another job. You take a loss, but only of a few weeks to a few months of your life and earnings. If I screw up here, I lose 3.5 years. All gone. Because while this has been a goal and dream of mine, and has had great positive impact and experiences for me, it is not a process I intend to repeat. There aren’t markets for failed PhD candidates. You go back to whatever you were doing before or the jobs you could get if you’d done the smart thing and left school with just a BS or MS.

This reminds me of a webcomic which I think it’s about time to do my yearly catch up. BS – bullshit, MS – more shit, PhD – piled higher and deeper. Jumping completely to a different topic, I still have the morning food aversion. It appears if I eat slowly and small amounts, it is manageable. I’m pretty sure it just takes a few months of making myself eat every morning to get rid of it. I just don’t really have strong enough motivation to do so. Yeah, I’ve got some body fat I’d like to lose and eating regular, small meals including one at breakfast time is a good way to help implement that and manage energy levels and hunger throughout the day. . .but I think I’ll stick to the current plan of just ignoring the need to eat.

Or maybe not. Because following my current plan hasn’t really been working out for me. At least not in the short term, that’s not how it feels now. But what can I do? I think I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve learned to trust decisions I’ve made until I have an overwhelming reason to change my mind. I can’t remember what my dad said, but the last time I visited my parents, he asked a question or made a comment about something I was doing. And I gave him a couple reasons – which were not good enough. . . – but on the drive back, I kept thinking about it and realized or remembered that there were other considerations when I’d initially made up my mind. Which then fully explained to me why I did what I did. This has probably been a very vague description of what was going on, but the point is that though I may feel now sticking to a path is stupid or not worth it and can’t think of good compelling reasons why I should continue, in fact I have already thought through all of these things and so I should trust myself, as crappy as things my seem right now.

So perhaps this is why this post doesn’t have a title – or why the title is appropriate. There hasn’t really been a coherent topic of discussion. Just like the process of grasping for the title, this has been me jumping from idea to idea, thought to thought. I guess food for thought – just how much of this post is a reflection of an underlying or subconscious intent and how much is just a product of going ahead and trusting the process of “just do it and things usually work out”.

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