I will gladly, cautiously take ambitious

I presented my dissertation proposal (aka 3-year plan, more or less, *fingers crossed*) several days ago as a preparation for my comprehensive examination in November. The ‘right of passage’ from a Ph.D. student to becoming a Ph.D. candidate. The general commentary is that it’s good, though very ambitious in scope. It worries my committee.

Remarks that crawls, follows you in the shower, pokes you while you contemplate in the morning. I am reminded of resolute artists staying true to their vision. I am reminded of filmmakers who refuse to consider what the audience might think. Why make scientific projects different? There might be some arrogance in terms of my timeline. Thinking about it, probably it stems from my MS training which forced me to work in a very adverse condition, which I also hope equipped me with the right skill set and maturity. Having the supposed resources in a developed country, my efficiency should increase so I adjusted my dissertation goals accordingly. I diversified my chapters so it has 1 high-risk chapter and 2 low-risk chapters. Maybe I will fail, but that’s also the point of grad school training. I am trying to embody the advice that Ph.D. is the time to really explore, to be insane in a way, since at this stage one has fewer responsibilities than mid-career or late-career scientists. I plan to do honest work for the coming years, strive hard and submit a good enough dissertation, and definitely not overstay.

I’ll take ambitious — gladly, cautiously, with humility. I see the end, mindful of constraints. Let’s see what happens because there’s no other way to tell if it will work than actually doing it.




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