Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In other news

My goal was to finally make my decision by the end of this past weekend.  As you might probably guess, that didn't quite happen.  I was really close, and then I decided that there was one more piece of information I wanted to wait for.  And then I started thinking about just how much it's going to suck to call and let people know that I have declined their offers.   As previously established, I am terrrrible at talking on the phone.  This is going to be acutely awkward, painful and sad. UGH.  So I've been procrastinating more.  And feeling pretty guilty, because I know if I really have decided that it is courteous to share the information as soon as possible.  I figure when I decide I pretty much have to say yes somewhere before I inform anyone else, so no one can try to change my mind.

Then there's the second guessing; it seems like if I'd made a solid decision, maybe I shouldn't be feeling like this about it, and procrastinating, and feeling guilty.

On a more positive note, I made a huge leap forward in research this week.  I'm hot on the trail of what is promising to be an exciting new graphical approach for visualizing and understanding the complex system we're juggling.  My advisor got really excited about it, and mentioned even that this stuff might make it in a journal like "Evolution", which would be a big deal.  For me maybe even a Big Deal.  We're beyond the realm of the kind of things he's done before, and maybe that anyone's done before (whereas the earlier part of this project involved applying established techniques to a new system).  A rather heady mix of dynamical systems, rapid evolution, ecology, numerical techniques, etc.   Another comment I got was that after we polish this piece up, we definitely need to stop and write one or two (!) papers.  

I should be pretty darn thrilled by all of this, but right now that reaction is being muted by external inputs, my indecision, and a perhaps misguided feeling that no one else knows enough about it to be excited with me, other than my advisor.  Wheeeeee!  Sometimes being a mathematical ecologist (scientist) is lonely.  Really takes a lot of self-motivational energy, b/c you can't rely on siphoning off the energy other ecologists (nonscientists) get when you share what you're doing.  I know it's tempting to keep cultivating feelings of being a "misunderstood genius", but probably what it really means is that I'm not doing enough to make myself understood.

Ironically, I'm feeling isolated, but yet I just wriggled my way out of heading out this evening to socialize with some of the graduate students, despite agreeing to it earlier in the day.  Why am I like this?  Hypocrite.

So I could definitely launch into a grad career here with wind in my sails.  One or two papers before starting grad school would be sol-id.  And that's in addition to my archaic undergrad paper-in-waiting, and a recent collaboration I've been drawn into as a statistics "consultant".

Why am I not happy right now, durnit?!?!?!?  

Maybe dinner will help.

1 comment:

Karina said...

Wow, Theo! It sounds like you're making awesome progress.

It's amazing how much a plethora of options can impede our progress and make us doubt and second guess our decisions. That's what wedding planning is like. What color should the middle of the dogwoods be? What type of script should our vows be written in? Do I want to register for an ivory blanket or a blue one? A big rain barrel or a small one? ;-)

Let me know if there's anything I can do to help you make your decision.

I'm sorry I haven't been commenting on your blog much, especially since you apparently made the grad school graphs just for me.