Friday 19 March 2010

Anxieties of a research scholar

Today my neighbours left to their native place with packed bags and smiley faces. Years ago, it was the same with our family. Come summer, we would finish all our exams, throw away the books and leave to our grandma's place.

Now all that has changed.

Being a research scholar, I have no holidays and as icing on the cake, I am a full-time scholar. This leaves me with the situation of every day being a working day and/or every day being a holiday. When people ask me about my weekend plans, I have to tell them with a straight face: I don't differentiate between a week day and a weekend. That gives no room for further conversation. Period.

I also face the peril of working at odd hours of the day and sometimes it so happens that people around me don't ever understand my inability to help with chores around the house. This stifles me.

The beginning of the research  is all rosy with dreams of having a Dr. in front of your name but as the time goes on, a vague feeling about the meaning of the whole 'research' slowly seeps the insides which leave me with a sense of restiveness.

Now about blogging: Everyone feels that I waste time by writing meaningless words in something called a 'blog' when I ought to be writing my thesis. Expletives have to be stopped.

I would like to quote my blogger friend's expression about being in the last leg of the thesis-writing:

Just hang on that last mile - which is the most difficult! But I do promise that the moment you submit it, you'll feel such relief. It's like being pregnant - that last month is so cumbersome and u just want it to be over, but the minute it's over, there is great joy and relief.
that's at least what I've been through.
I have really funny stories from my last month of "thesising" - I threw out my dad from my my apartment, managed to have one of my worst fights with my partner over what kind of vegetables to put in the salad, was grouchy and snappy at everyone who came my way, I mean I had MURDER in my eyes. During the last week, when all I lacked was a few touch ups, the introduction and the abstract, I almost gave up on the whole thing, saying "who needs this degree anyway?!" and I just wanted to crawl inside a seashell and stay there. The last night was spent on proofreading - and of course I didn't sleep and went to University to print it - walking like a zombie, but I MADE IT.
After that - I had a lot of apologizing to do and was lucky that everyone forgave me...
I wish you have an easy "birth"!!! 

 Her words are so quite true.

And finally everyone you meet ask the most prized question: "So when are to going to submit your thesis?" As if a thesis is another application form to be filled and submitted. This is quite irritating as people ask this question whenever they meet me. Sometimes I face this question almost every day in a week.

On a lighter vein, I am going to attempt a book on the dynamics of thesis-writing and handling people when I complete my thesis. Anyone volunteering to be the second author of the book with me? I shall be more than glad.

Signed by
Frustrated Research Scholar


  1. Susan, I can very well imagine you holler
    like a dog that is leashed to a collar
    trudge on your future will be brighter
    once you can prefix your name with a Dr.

    All the best Susan!

  2. This is not just about thesis submission Susan. When people come and disturb interrupt when we are trying hard to work something out for hours and days together, we get really really mad at them and everything that comes our way. I had a similar experience when we were trying fix some production issue which is supposed to be delivered the next day. And your friend is exactly right. Just hang on there for a little while and it'll be over even before you realize its over :) And you can happily start your book :)

    And btw, when are you submitting your thesis Susan ??

    ok..ok.. Dont jump on me.. Was just kidding :)

    Happy weekend Susan.


  3. I was asked the same question abut thesis submission this very evening. Felt like slapping the person left, right and centre. What more, the person herself is a PhD holder.

    But, there are advantages of being a Research Scholar. You get student discounts, more holidays compared to even PSUs, you get to live a nice lifestyle at the government's expense and nothing is expected from you in return. It isn't a bad deal to to a PhD.

  4. Govind:

    Another verse to delight me. Thanks for that analogy -- like a dog. Now I woof woof at everyone who will ask me "When are you submitting?"

    Thanks for the wishes Govind :)


    I agree with every word of yours. Hanging on is the most difficult part. Please do send good notes of peace and joy to keep me calm.

    I am submitting in July Sukanya. No issues in telling you.

    Happy weekend to you as well :)


    Kindred soul! You will understand this better than any other. In fact I was thinking of you while writing this post. My partner in thesis.

    As for the advantages . . . let me first complete and then dream.

    Best wishes to you Vinay. BTW when are you submitting? :)

  5. thank you for stopping by, i'm sure it will pass :)

  6. Dear Susan, just hang in there. And I know I will forgive you any frustrations or outbursts. :-) I can only imagine this "pregnancy". And what an original way to think of a thesis! But you do know it will be worth it once it is all over with. You will be free, and you will have your degree, and you will be so proud of yourself. And I will be proud of you, too. :-)


  7. Dear Frustrated Research scholar,

    Hang in there. Just a bit longer and you will have a reward for all your hard work. And please don't stop blogging. You are so very good at it, witty and intelligent and the possessor of a beautiful soul.


    A Friend Who Believes in You

  8. Uh oh. I never considered this all the times I asked if we could meet.

    Isn't it odd how our sensitisation to anything depends so much on whether that thing can speak for itself, and articulate its own condition.

    I do hope we can meet soon, though,
    Good luck! :)

  9. Susan,

    Many wishes of luck are being sent your way. About the blogging, it is what is done to break up the expectations we put upon ourselves. Enjoy the hard work and the leisure time, both are needed and the benefits and rewards will and are well deserved.

    Good luck my friend and thanks for taking moments out to read my blog under such a demanding time.


  10. :)So when are to going to submit your thesis? Just curious - Sorry I couldn't help myself.
    I would offer encouragement but I am just not sure how...It sounds horrible.
    Question - as you work your #$% off and assuming your mate is working less hard at this moment (at least I hope so or murder in the eyes may actually be murder on the front page of the newspaper soon) Do you find yourself resenting him?

  11. Oh! dear Susan, I can imagine what it is you are going through, although I had not known about the feelings of a research scholar, the example of pregnancy given by your friend has said it all.... I remember my pregnancy and my impatience as I was nearing the due date, and still not delivering.... they were the most exhausting days of my life... but know what the baby was born eventually, exactly on the due date...
    I Wish you All the very Best for your baby's birth.... and I can garantee you the feeling is going to be exhilarating....

    Love you and Wish the best of the worlds for you...

    Cheers Always

  12. awwww my dear Susan,...please dont worry,smile! ( there you go!lovely!! :) )
    I really understand the pressure on you w.r.t.thesis submission and wish that it just eases off. I am wishing you all the very bestest! for this task and send calm and soothing vibes your way(()))).
    kudos to you for still taking out time and writing insightful and interesting posts and furthermore responding to all comments submitted!! You are awesome :)

    Hope you have a rejuvinating, happy and fresh Sunday & a lovely week ahead and get working on the task at hand with a renewed determination. You will do great!!!

    Wishing you the very Best again...
    Keep smiling
    Lots of love, hugs and warmest regards
    take care
    Ruchi :)

  13. oh i can perfectly relate to what you say susan
    nice to have met you at indiblogger
    **me smiles

  14. Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.

  15. Hello dear Susan, I am back from my break, trying to catch up on blog posts.;)
    A lovely post indeed, as you can imagine, I can so relate. Being a researcher myself, I know all about week days and weekends being the same.
    These days though I am trying to distance myself from my work just a bit in order to enjoy life as well. But any scientist will tell you; science is not work, it is a way of life.;))
    Have a lovely weekend dear friend, I missed you.;)

  16. Twain:

    Thanks for coming by. "This too shall pass" -- For sure.


    I know I can count on you for being patient with me. Thanks for the kind words. They mean a lot to me and you know that :)


    Your comment brought a smile to my face. How well you have signed the comment. It has definitely made me happy happy :)

    Joy always.

  17. Praxis:

    Love you :)


    Thanks for every single word. The time is demanding but reading the other blogs is equally stimulating to me. In fact, that is a saving factor from the headiness of writing my thesis.


    You did not read the post carefully. Do so again and then ask about 'my' partner.

    Joy always.

  18. Seema:

    Thanks hun. Love you back and kisses :)


    Your words always brighten me up and you know that. Thanks for the vibes. I can feel them as I write. Hugs and love :)


    Welcome aboard. It was indeed lovely meeting you at Indibloggers. Take care and be in touch.

  19. Friction:

    Well said and I hope I am doing that. You can read my thesis once done.

    Welcome to the meanderings and thanks for taking time to jot down your thoughts. I appreciate it.

    Dear Dear Zuzana:

    Glad to see your comment. What a joy! Missed you and your words (A nice big smile on my face now).

    Research is a way of life . . . true very true.

    Take care and please don't take a break.

  20. Really great work. I loved this posting and this space. have a nice weekend.

  21. David:

    Welcome and thanks for putting down your thoughts here. It means a lot. Hope to see more of you in the coming days.

    You have a lovely remainder of the week :)

    Joy always.

  22. hehehehe very funny. Sorry to laugh at this moment but what to do your expression is to be blamed for it.:D
    Well susan good things dont come easily :)
    All these questions and frustrations are a part of life. Just enjoy it. Even if you get that DR. before your name, then also you will be bombarded with many different questions. :P
    Well be prepared for that. :)
    By the way when are you going to submit it ??? *Asking with a serious tone and innocent face*

  23. Asif:

    Grrrrr. I can understand your intentions behind the laughing. Oh! Now I feel like laughing at your 'gyan' dispersed to me. Thanks Asif. Things don't come easily but still the human in me starts complaining.

    I am submitting in July Asif :)

    Thanks for coming.

    Joy always.

  24. I am pleased that my comment made you happy! :)



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