After 6 long long years in Ph.D. (which felt like half of my life) yes, I finally got my Ph.D. degree! Happy thing is that it finally finishes at some point. People get their Ph.D.’s . It is hard, time and life consuming but it does end.
I felt like my favourite animation character Megamind for a minute after my professors declared that I am a Ph.D. 🙂
Then I realised that I am the same person who was trembling to defend it before a thesis committee just 24 hours ago. So I started to feel pretty much the same.
Now I also moved into a new country Lithuania.
My first impressions, comments on life style and people in Lithuania is coming soon.
Now I just try to enjoy my coffee and appreciate being a Ph.D. which I awaited for long.
I could not decide this piece to be a movie review or a comment on PhD writing adventure. So I decided to make both. Since everything reminds a student her unfinished research, not even watching a movie without comparisons, evaluations, conclusions, examples, and justifications is not possible!
Note: This piece may include some spoilers about the movie the Maze Runner
I told in my first blog writings that you should warn me to go back to my research if I posted more than you expect. (Special thanks to my friends who never warned me!) Just kidding, my friends and my beloved husband already know that giving a warning to a PhD student can receive unexpected reactions:
break ups, broken hearts, mean comments expressed in different forms:
-What did you achieve in life that you dare to criticize me?
-I have a Masters degree!
-I graduated from the university in top 5.
-Do you know how hard it is to continue this?
-You never support me etc etc.
Mostly accompanied by tears, unnecessary depressive gestures and so on.
So first warning: Never warn a PhD student!
This week I have been busy with my research. It made me feel more positive finally to be able to study on my PhD. again after a long time. 2014 was the hardest year in my life with numerous health issues, loss of a beloved one and so on… Basically this year gave me lots of tears and depression. So PhD adventure is not only a fight with time but also turned into a psychological war for me.
I know that I have to be patient, I know that I have to focus better, I know that I have to push myself enough to keep on studying but not too hard to slide into depression (again and again). I know these things because I have been a life long student. First things I learned in life made me more and more hungry for learning. Nobody told me that I will end up in a PhD maze!
Last week I also saw this movie “The Maze Runner”. As a PhD student it did not scare me a bit. Because running in a maze without a map and with unknown obstacles is nothing when compared to following years long research.
If you think being deserted in an unknown place and robotic spiders in a maze are scary, think about some problems that a researcher face everyday: conflicting comments from a committee, nonexistent funding, an underpaid and life consuming job, isolation from every aspect of life, still being a highly criticized student in your 30s, long hours of asocial studies and so on…
Considering these funky facts, being a PhD. student is quite similar to being a maze runner. You have to run everyday over and over the same maze to make a ever changing map of it. Trying to figure out why you are deserted in there and questioning your life choices again and again everyday. one minute believing that you are doing the most important thing and the second minute downgrading your efforts realising the fact that nobody reads a dissertation.
But as is issued in the movie the Maze Runner, there should always be a bit of hope to see the light at the end of this mighty maze! So forget about what I have been telling and try to remember “happiness of being on the way” instead of obsessing about getting at the end of the maze.
How good it is to migrate every day!
How beautiful it is to stop somewhere every day!
How nice it is to flow without freezing and getting muddy!
What word that belongs to yesterday,
Is gone, my loved one, with yesterday,
Now is the time to say new things.
Jalal ud-din Rumi
In time, we forgot about happiness of first moments of relationships, of new starts, of choices. In time we focus on the end, the reward and outcome. Instead of the mindful movement of the beginning, we direct our gaze to end. We get easily trapped by the thought that “we should finish’’ “we should be successful” “we should have a promotion, or degree” just to be happy again.
This occurred to me when I was just thinking about my PhD adventure. I have been in my program around 5 years now. In time, I totally forgot about why I chose to pursue a PhD, why I chose my topic, why I decided to be in academia. Only thing prevailed in my mind is my obsession with finishing it whatever it takes. Last couple of days, I just sat back, and tried to untie myself from my exhaustion with my research. I tried to remember the time (which was even before I started to university) when I made my decision to pursue an academic career. And I also tried to remember that I chose a life as a researcher just for the joy of researching, creative epiphany movements in writing, and joy of sharing experience and knowledge with people around me. Not for money, not for a big career, or fancy toys…
I also remembered that as a lifelong nomad, I wanted to be in that present movement (in a distinct part of the world) reading my books, researching on different topics, and being able to travel. That made me realize our modern world does not accept us successful unless we reach to a strong position in a big university, or we reach the best funding, or we finish what we are working on quickly to jump into another thing. The system tries to inflict its obsession with success, time and ends on us.
That is why I just prefer to remember how I loved the process, how I loved being on the way instead of reaching the end of story.