Saturday, October 11, 2008

deep thoughts

After 10 years I now realize that my senior project, completed within the safe confines of college life, was not a Big Deal, even if I most definitely thought it was at the time.

And I know that in 10 more years, the anxiety surrounding my qualifying exam will mellow and eventually disappear in the same way, which is why my Mentor (who writes grants that must actually exist in the realm of reality) keeps telling me to stop worrying about it.

That said, writing this bitch is HARD.

I do think the thought process is pretty interesting though. I have so far completed the following stages:
  • Birth of the original Vague Idea that has now been rolling around in my mind for a few months
  • Commitment of Vague Idea to paper. Realization that Vague Idea requires much more thought and research until it can actually take the form of Specific Aims
  • Generation of scrap paper to record ideas/issues/problems which always seem to reveal themselves at odd times (when running, after "sleeping on it", while listening to an unrelated seminar etc.). This one surfaced while I was making coffee this am:

  • Four drafts of specific aims, each one successively less related to original Vague Idea

  • Realization that specific aims must be grounded in some form of sound hypothesis. What do I really want to know? How will specific aims address this knowledge? Why is this knowledge important?
This is pretty much where I'm at right now. This mess has to take shape in some form or another by early November. There is another student in my lab who is in roughly the same place as me, so at least I know the "process" I've been trudging through isn't unique.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved this post.

5:54 PM  

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