Influences (or Why I Write the Way I Do)

Natalie Goldberg (free-flowing writing)
Clarissa Pinkola Estes (wild woman writing)
Jane Hutchison (direct-to-the-point writing)
Ernest Hemingway (simple words writing)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

All is Fair in Love and PhD

when i wrote this on my facebook wall, i'm not hinting on romance or that i'm having problems juggling love and PhD. i'm referring rather to the love of PhD, which appears lost, or is very hard to do when one is doing a PhD. i wrote this to counter the tendency to complain and use one's PhD as a scapegoat for mood swings, depression, and suicidal tendencies. it is self-flagellation for the wrong reasons.

for one thing, there is no reason to complain when the decision to do a PhD is one's own. another, one has to know fairly well what one is committing to with a PhD. of course it is not a walk in the park, of course you have to struggle, of course there are sleepless nights just going over and targeting one's research question; of course...because it's a PhD!

on my second year, i'd rather take the middle ground and just immerse on what this PhD has to offer. for one, it is making me think political (sort of). second, i get more in touch with my apathy (yes, my apathy! in transcribing, it makes me squirm just hearing me ask insensitive heartless questions! i will blog about this later...). and third, the research experience is showing me new strategies on how to conduct myself and future studies on the field. fourth, i don't want to dwell on this negativism towards doing a PhD. this PhD is more than me. more than my arthritic hands or aching back; it is much more than the scorching sun. it is even more than the library of articles i'm ambitiously building but has yet to read. it is even more than the opportunity cost of being away from Yaman and ShadowMan. this PhD is about the reality being undergone by people and a government struggling with its integrity. i am studying development as it is created, recreated, sustained or even taken for granted by the people participating in it. it is this elusive 'thing' called 'development' that i am here for; elusive because 'development' is alternatively understood in its failings, in its divergence from the ideal. how can i hate the reality i'm facing? rather than hate, one should even be humbled.

i leave the hating of the PhD to those who cannot see beyond what they are doing, who still have yet to see their contribution, and who, by hating, would only hurt themselves more, by finishing less. i am not saying that i am so good at this that i will finish my PhD in no time, or without sweat. no, it is a mountain i'm climbing. and it's not an easy climb. but i'd rather climb with love and enjoy the journey.

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