Happiness Now

There’s a lot of frustration involved with getting a phd. A Yesterday I had two separate conversations with peers that disturbed me. In one, a colleague said he didn’t know if he could put up with the pressure of constantly trying to publish. We both agreed that we wish we wanted to do the things we need to be doing. In another conversation, a colleague said that he dreaded writing his dissertation proposal. I pointed out that the grass always looks greener on the other side. I’ve worked an 8-5 job. I didn’t like it. Sure I had evenings and weekends free, but I didn’t like what I was doing 9 hours a day and that was too much for me. I saw the phd as freedom from spending 9 hours a day doing crap I don’t like for a paycheck that meant less and less to me. But did I make the right decision if I’m frustrated, stressed out, and feeling over worked and burned out now?

Part of me thinks that things will get better. Eventually I’ll finish and things will be easier, but I had planned on being a professor and they claim to be at least as stressed out as grad students are. Where did we all go wrong?

I have decided that part of the problem is this attitude of “things will get better”. This attitude, while optimistic, encourages overworking one’s self and “pushing through” the hard parts. Instead, why not “things can be better right now”. I have resolved to enjoy myself now, to have fun with what I’m doing, but to also not put off the things I want to do later. There is no time like the present and the world will not end if I’m slightly less productive with respect to my research.

And if any of my few readers are grammar freaks you will note that I put periods after quotation marks despite the fact that this is not the American English convention, but forgawdsake quotation marks are like parentheses and periods close sentences and so putting the period inside the quotation mark offends my sensibilities as a programmer.

Neal Holtshulte

Neal Holtschulte began graduate studies at the University of New Mexico in 2010. Neal graduated with a BA in Mathematics from Williams College. He works with an amiable and talented group of people including his advisor Professor Melanie Moses. Neal is currently working on automated software diversity with network security applications. Neal makes time to run and occasionally race in the 5k to 1/2 marathon range. He enjoys video games and maintains that while any bachelor can boil noodles, sauteing vegetables officially classifies as cooking.
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