DISCLAIMER: I want to state very clearly that I am a human being who is trying to improve. As I put my thoughts here and now, it doesn’t mean that they won’t change. In fact, I really hope they keep changing for the better.
Why am I making this blog?
As I start this blog, I’ve been having a hard time thinking about what to write. It came as an idea to me a few days ago, but as I thought about it, I really didn’t know what to focus on. Should I just look at it as an opportunity to talk about research? A strange online diary? A way to encourage my creativity with fictional writing? It’s difficult to decide, but it helped me to really think about why I want to do this. So that’s what this first post will be. I’m still not quite sure what this will turn into, but I still want to start.
I really have three main reasons why I want to write these posts:
- Writing Practice
- Documenting My Ideas
I have been frustrated with expressing myself with writing, and I think this may be a good way to get practice. I used to feel extremely confident in writing in school. Whatever assignment was given to me, I could crank it out in an evening and the teacher would love it. So I just brushed it aside as something that I never really needed to focus on. My thoughts are fairly organized, so as long as I can translate it to paper, then it wouldn’t really be problem. I was wrong.
Writing is hard. I see it as one of my weaknesses. It’s become more apparent as I’ve gotten into the Ph.D. program. I’m terrified to have someone critique my writing. I think it was born out of some bad experiences in the past, but moving forward I want to get better. And I figure the best way to do that was to write. Face my fears and listen to the critics. How bad could it be?
For everyone, you come to a point in your life where you realize you’re in over your head. That can happen anywhere in social situations, physical situations, intellectual situations, etc. No matter how confident you are in your abilities, you hit a point where you realize: “Huh, I’m not as good as I thought”. This happens to pretty much anyone except people in the very tip top of their skill groups, and even they probably face this same issue in other areas. It’s a natural progression.
That was me coming into a Ph.D. program. It’s probably the first time in my life where I’ve consistently doubted I was good enough to continue. Of course I’ve faced challenges in my life before. But this is the first time where I don’t feel in control. Before, it’s easy to think “I’m smart, I can handle anything”. Pride loves to claim success. But there are so many brilliant people in the world, and once you get high enough on the ladder of life, you realize that you’re not the best anymore. In order to keep going, you have to push yourself. You have to accept that you will fail sometimes, and use that to learn. Pride hates that, but it’s how you get better.
There’s been a lot of turmoil in my life recently (Thank you COVID-19!), and I feel like writing out things will help me stay grounded and focused on bettering myself. I don’t want to treat this just as a diary (though it could be useful to organize my thoughts), I also want to use it as a way to encourage me to keep bettering myself. That includes using it as a way to ensure I’m continuing in my research. Documenting papers I’ve read or ideas that I’ve had. Making sure that they’re defined somewhere rather than the confusing nebula of my brain.
Documenting My Ideas
I want to make my ideas known. Even if it’s not really read by anyone outside of close friends, I should put them somewhere. Otherwise my ideas live and die in my head. Maybe my ideas have already been thought a million times, but at least the sum total of them helps to define ME. And I want to make sure I have a way for people to know ME, even if I’m not with them.
A First Step
So I hope to accomplish some of these goals in writing these posts. At the very least it should be interesting.