15 August 2009


In a previous entry two days ago, I may have hinted that I am starting to tire of my current predicament as a student. I suppose this needs further explaining.

It is true that sometimes, I feel that it's been a long time since I started being a student. After all, this is true. Ever since the age of 6, I have been in school, and I haven't stopped yet. You know, when I was little, and I graduated from grade school, well, there's middle school around the corner. And after that, there's high school. And after that, there's college. And after that, well, I might as well ride the momentum and go to graduate school. So now, it's been 20 years and I have been in school.

Yes, sometimes, it is tiring. But if I think about what my goal is, then this is nothing. No, it may be tiring sometimes, but I don't think the fact that I get tired once in a while will make me just abandon ship. No sir, it would take more than that for me to ditch this whole set-up.

So yeah, when the other day, I had an interview, and for all intents and purposes, I impressed the person, I suppose it was a chance but in the wrong time. I am working on a dissertation in Buffalo, and yet this laboratory research job is located in another country, not to mention another continent. At first, I thought that I can juggle my obligations on both sides, but it turns out that it is easier said than done.

The thing is, I am in the middle of working on a dissertation. I haven't defended the proposal yet, let alone conduct the experiments that I need to conduct. This takes time. One suggestion that was given to me was that I could somehow craft a dissertation incorporating the research that I would be doing anyway in the other country. That means changing (slightly or not) my current research agenda, the topic of the dissertation, and potentially adding another member in my committee.

Now this is what I mean when I mentioned that the dissertation is starting to be a burden. I do not want to write a dissertation on a topic that is just convenient, or given to me, or because other people are interested and they simply want an eager student to research the topic. I want my dissertation to be mine. I want my dissertation to be on a topic that is selected because I myself am interested in it, because this is a topic worth investigating, and I myself am driven for it. Not because it is the convenient thing to work on, or because other people just need manpower to further their own research agenda.

In a way, it sounds like it's the mad scientist approach. But, this dissertation in a way will be the catalyst of my research program when (see, I did not say if) I am done. This will be my jump-off point when I make my contribution to the advancement of science. If that is the case, I would not want to write a dissertation where it is not mine to begin with, since if that is the case, chances are it would just look like a burden to me, working on something that was just handed on to me, instead of being personally driven to pursue the work.

So yeah, after deep considerations, I will most probably notify the institute that I originally applied for a job that I will retract my application. Too bad I know, because I had a feeling that they really wanted me to come, even suggesting options in order to make that possible, but the timing isn't right. It provides me assurance however, that given where I stand right now, there are people out there willing to take me on.

So, I was a little disappointed the other day, but hey, there's a reason why I told myself not to be too excited when I heard I got shortlisted. This may not work out, but there must be other chances along the road later on.

(Riders and Guards, from my DC Memorials Series)


  1. Supposing there are three more degrees higher than PhD that will keep you ten more years in school, will you take them? Why or why not? Parang pang beauty pageant na tanong, ano?

  2. Some guys shave their head because of the hot weather. I'm afraid you can't use this excuse in the States.

  3. Well, at least in Buffalo, NY where you stay...

  4. hmm.. I suppose I understand better now. I have a friend (you know her) who is being forced to change her dissertation topic due to funding reasons. The government wants something businessy, not a social topic investigating integration of immigrants. I think such financial compulsions are nothing more than blackmail...

  5. Abaniko,

    Hmm. Three more degrees higher than the PhD? Chances are I won't take it. I love discovering things, and I really want to contribute to the current knowledge. I suppose the PhD will suffice, but if I need three more degrees, then other considerations will come into play.

    One such consideration is the need to earn as well. The older one gets, the stronger the desire to earn money becomes. So if that constraint becomes stronger than the constraint to contribute to science, then I will probably not do the three additional degrees.

    Good thing the PhD is the terminal degree in my field at least.

    Oh, and shaving the head for the hot weather? The last time I checked, it's 32 degrees Fahrenheit here in Buffalo.

  6. Priyank,

    Ah, her. Yes, I do not like those situations as well. Like I said, it may make the dissertation a burden, because there are other people who have a vested interest in the topic. I think the dissertation should be on something one really wants to do, not just because the topic was handed on to him/her.