The Unexpected


Like every other person, I imagine how things might turn out in the future and how I ‘d feel about them at that point. And when I pictured finishing grad school and moving back home, after having lived and loved every bit of London and its people, I pictured it to be a transition full of nostalgia and push-pull. But that’s not how it turned out – Earlier this evening I found myself at a train station, on my way back from a farewell coffee-dinner#1-dinner#2 completely emotional and overwhelmed with all the love which people around me had shown to me, with their lovely presents, gestures and time.

At that moment I felt like my four years at university have really been worth it. Because I have not only achieved two degrees with distinctions, I have also earned lots and lots of love, which makes it all the more fulfilling.

I am not sure what exactly the future will hold for me, but it feels great to know that you have done justice to all that has come your way. Surprisingly, I am not sad, disappointed or upset – I am overwhelmed, thankful and anxious.

It is funny how life turns out so different from what you imagine. And most unexpectedly, how your feelings towards things turn out so much differently from what you imagine – This is why I think one must never define strictly every single route they want to take in life and abide by it no matter what. You never know what’s going to make you tick at different times in life, and thus you should always be open minded, not just for others – but for yourself.

Nearing the end of a beginning..


We all knew moving back was not going to be the easiest thing for me to get around – but I think I have come to accept it in stages, one after the other and as it is only a few weeks away now I can clearly see how this is going to pan out and I am starting to realise what makes this stage such a scary one.

There’s two fears kicking in here. First, is the fear that almost everyone at this stage has – which is to be growing up to damn fast with time just flying by. For most people: they finish university, get a job, get promoted …. And it just goes on – there’s not one day when you stop and tell yourself, so today xyz phase of your life has come to an end. For me this is not going to be the case. For me the day I sit in that plane with my single ticket, I know this journey would have come an end, I know this huge chunk and lot of achievements would have come to their completion. Which is an amazing yet a scary thought. It is amazing to know I have completed my Masters and Bachelors, that too with distinctions, which has opened to many doors for me. I have met so many amazing people, gone to so many amazing places and experienced so much. But it is scary to think that the phase of studying abroad is now coming to an end and it’s time to get a job, settle down and move on.

Second is obviously, change is never easy to accept and it kills to think what the future holds, in every phase of uncertainty.

I can only hope that what’s ahead is as amazing as what’s gone by and I need to make the most of every second while I am here. May be we should live like tourists all our lives, so we’d enjoy our lives a whole lot more, take more chances and risks, speak our hearts and love a little more.

That Sinking Feeling in Dissertation Writing


Yes, we’re all at that point of year (well, some of us), when we prepare to get our theses/ dissertations/ research papers in and not like most, I was quite excited about having to write my very OWN piece of work which will probably be the most important piece of research I have ever done but as we know, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies – not just graduation gowns and distinction certificates; its sleepless nights and thoughtless hiccups.

But as I come to the completion of my work I have started to realise that the hardest part of writing one is not finding the right topic (which too is trick because it’s difficult to find the balance between inspirational and realistic) or the right supervisor (which too is absolutely essential) or the sources. Infact it is the moment when you start to write things in your study which are completely novel and new, which noone has yet spoken of, about or for. I love writing essays – I understand how to structure them, how to make them rock solid by having genuine sources etc – And this practice makes me scared when I start to write something which is not out of any paper, journal or book, for which there could be no reference but my brain. While this feeling is exciting and the sole reason what makes writing your own research project so exciting, at the same time it brings the feeling of self-doubt and fear. Sometimes analysing my results, I think to myself ‘I hope I am not being stupid’ and well it’s a bit unsettling of a feeling.

That apart, I couldn’t be unthankful, I got a wonderful supervisor, a reasonable topic and a smooth journey – hopefully I can finish it off in time and the effort is reflected on the grades and who knows what else!

Why take a break from academics?


Almost through my Masters’ degree, it is obvious to think of my options ahead. The process is tedious, especially as I went for my Postgrad right after the completion of my Undergrad, which means I got no full time work experience, even though I made it a point to be no less of work experience when I graduate so I capitalised on every opportunity that came along. Like many others I feel I belong to the academics and research, for my interest, aptitude and the practical aspects of it. So, whenever I was spoken to about my future plans, I said academics was what I wanted to pursue, but things are changing. Now when I am asked about my future plans, even though I know that I at some point wish to do my PhD, my answer is not the academics. Now I am thinking about what I want to do to make myself ‘ready’ for that and after coming across a very interested TED talk, my curiosity and questions were answered.

 

The researcher said, in order to create, you need to stop learning. Einstein discovered the laws of physics when he was suspended from education. So, may be you need to give your mind the space to think of gaps in the knowledge or to create something worth researching. But this is only the beginning of the list, there are so many other reasons why you need to go into the real world and get some ‘real’ experience, before contributing to creation of knowledge. And by ‘real’ I do not mean internships and work experiences. Having spent years in the industry you would know that life really doesn’t work by the book, and any theory/ research is only fair if relevant and applicable. I wonder what an entirely theoretical research would do for anyone’s utility? Also, I think the brains need a break from being ‘told’ and there is a sense of purpose in just knowing that every single day you contribute to something and make things happens in the bigger horizon. And if you work for long enough, you would have all the more reasons to come back to academics (they say you miss the student life!).

Beyond achievements..


It is ‘that’ time of the year, yet again. And probably the last one in a really long time, atleast until I start my PhD. Exams are not too far away but this time I have my research to work on, which makes it all the more interesting and stressful. I am although getting used to racing time every single day. Might not be my idea of the perfect life but it sure is challenging and exciting. It got a little bit more interesting when going through literature for my thesis I came across this book called the ‘Prosperity without growth: Economics for  finite planet’ and I remembered quoting this in my personal statement, when applying for this degree. At that point, I had no idea I would be writing or reading about this book again as it was only something that inspired me on personal level. Now this meant something (or I am just over-worked).

 

I say that because I was not among one of those who ALWAYS knew what they wanted to do professionally, however I have learned so much about myself and what I want to do as the time has gone by. So, knowing that something that inspires you, has actually been incorporated into the ‘bigger picture’ of your achievements and life is definitely a reassuring feeling. It lets you know that every little milestone has led to something true to your curiosities and motivations, and hopefully where you’re headed is too.

 

In my perspective being rewarded, influential and recognized for your achievements are the major factors that make your efforts worthwhile, but reassurance has started to mean more in this respect. It is good to know what you are doing has a positive influence externally and be rewarded and praised for that contribution but being reassured that it really is in line with your aspirations, concerns and desires is just beyond satisfaction.