Now that the time of celebrations and rejoicing has passed, that the team is *finally* complete with Jessica and Marwan’s arrivals, I think it’s time to take stock of the previous year… I’m talking about New Year’s resolutions, obviously, because – let’s face it – all of us aren’t quite perfect yet. (I’m pretty close though.) On that note, these will be my commandments for the year to come.
1. To not mock our beloved and diligent administrator – the rest of the team isn’t exempt though.
2. To become more British, a task in which I have been actively supported and groomed by the most patriotic members of the programme and math PhD students.
- Tea. I guess you’re not quite English until you have hundreds of those teabags in your office.
- Booze. I am extremely worried about the future of Spesh…
- English words and expressions, which I classify in the following categories : the genuinely interesting words which may come up in a professional context, like acumen; the typically British words like chuffed, manic and gabber; the ones most appropriate in a sarcastic context, such as enthralled and discombobulated; the “technical” ones such as animal slurry and farmyard manure (credits go to Alex for these two) ; and finally the ones I will not repeat here and that are only appropriate in the most social celebrations – see above bullet point.
3. To try and not work until 3-5AM. Most of you admirers might already know that I sometimes have ideas spring to mind, and that I like getting to the bottom of things. Thinking of my research or of Maths in a relaxed environment is often
very too fruitful: an idea comes up, I start investigating it, and next thing I know it’s 4:00. Boundaries are obviously important, and I must say I’ve done quite good for the past 2 weeks.
This last resolution brings me to my next point, and I think this is all the more relevant since Thalassa (A.K.A. Project 10) mentioned that she has so many ideas. I think this is important for a PhD, and made possible by the fact our research is pretty much the only thing we have to care about.
As far as I’m concerned, I happen to have been struggling with technical issues (I swear I won’t speak about Maths just now) since before Christmas (but get ready because I definitely will in one of my following posts). When you have that many ideas, possible solutions to a problem, it is not obvious which will solve it, which to choose from or which is better pursued first. I think this is true regarding research as well as just PhDs, in a nutshell: it’s often unclear which path to choose from, and there exactly lies our purpose. The fact that a decision is hard to take or a problem is hard to solve justifies the very reason why they’re worth considering. I personally don’t think there’s reward without risk, and for that reason I think it is both true and encouraging as a PhD student to see opportunity in difficulty or hardship.
On that bombshell, you’d better subscribe to my blog (I know you have) or drop a comment below if you found any of this interesting because there is a good chance I will unleash some serious Maths in my next post. I also hope that you will hold me to my resolutions.