Thursday, November 30, 2006

man hours required

i am almost to the point where i can begin running some tests and doing the really useful work regarding my research and action plan. i had envisioned being in this position about 3-4 weeks ago, but i intend to make the most of the resources and limited time i have left before the holidays. i think there is a lot to be gained in this short period of time, but there will be many man hours required to get there. i am really motivated at this point, and i hope that i can keep this momentum until i leave. if possible, i have no doubts that i can leave over the break feeling good about (1) the amount of work i got done and (2) the progress with my research goals and ideas i have made.

thanks to all my friends and family that have continued to be encouraging during the past few discouraging weeks. the tides have turned, and i plan to take full advantage.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

it starts with small steps

i had a little taste of success today with my new measurement hardware and microcontroller. the hardware has been correct through the first phase of usage, and the initial microcontroller program works. now, the measurement calibration phase begins. here is where the measurement board's correctness will really be tested. i have a fun-filled day of work ahead of me tomorrow. and, i even get to begin learning python and writing a data collection script. there's a lot of low-hanging fruit on the horizon. this would be an excellent finish to a slow term. much success is possible before the holidays.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

playing catch-up

trying to jump into a totally new subject/environment has been a big process of my phd'dom since i began. whether it be trying to immediately understand where someone else's train of thought ended or expecting to understand a new subject matter right off the bat, the entire situation can be more than frustrating. trying to determine what you "should" already know and what is "common knowledge." it tends to make me feel inadequate at times, but then i realize that i have expertise in other areas..........that this feeling is self-contained to the particular topic. it sure would be nice to not have to feel like you are the only person that doesn't know something though. i do not know why i make myself feel like this at times. i guess that is the motivation for me to work as hard as i do until i understand material. i know that i am competent, but there are times that i get caught up in comparing myself and my weaknesses to others and their strong suits.

*motivational advice to self* -- rome was not built in a day young grasshopper and you cannot expect to be an expert the second you see something. give yourself time to practice and let it soak in.

Monday, November 27, 2006

crunch time

the pressure is definitely on to make some major strides in these last two weeks. today was a good start. the creative/thinking juices were flowing, and i am preparing to begin some much anticipated tangible work (programming and data collection) in the near future. it just stinks that it has taken this long to get to this point. i guess now is better than never. if things continue as they are, the next few months are going to be pretty trying, but there is a great deal of room for high rewards and satisfying Achievements.

a new addition to the daily grind is keeping intense personal dealings at bay long enough to complete a thought. hopefully things will get better. trying times always look better once you have gone through them, however, in the midst, it can seem like the world is coming to an end.

Friday, November 24, 2006

a lot to be thankful for

in the spirit of thanksgiving, i have a lot to be thankful for in spite of sometimes thinking things are going so badly for me. i guess it's just human nature to maximize one's situation and minimize others'. i got to spend yesterday with some friends that have helped to make life here in england much more bearable. the food was absolutely amazing too. we even got to watch football. what more can you as for on thanksgiving? of course, it was no substitute for being home with my family and friends, but it was much better than being here by myself. it was really hard to come back to work today, but i had a supervision to give this afternoon. other than that, i don't think you can say much about my productivity as far as my own work went today. i didn't really have any motivation. maybe some rest and seeing the home stretch will perk things up come monday.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

all interesting words escape me

i don't have anything insightful to post today (clearly, a visible red flag that my research is still slow and unexciting at the moment). so, Happy Thanksgiving. be back friday.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

officially registered as a phd student

i finally had my first-year interview, and i am now officially registered as a phd candidate with the university. besides the interview, i really did not have time to work on any of my stuff between meetings and lab supervisions. i do have a renewed spirit and energy. sometimes, that's all it takes.

Monday, November 20, 2006

a little progress is better than none

a very slow but slightly productive monday. much better than the last two mondays i must say. nothing much to say, so i will keep it short. hopefully, more excitement to come in the next few days (and weeks for that matter)

Friday, November 17, 2006

conscious ambition

my constant drive for success and Achievement continue to help me make it through these tough times that one experiences as a graduate student. the road gets rough, but my determination helps to keep me pressing forward. i had a better day today and have a bit clearer idea of where i am going in the short-term. my goals remain lofty, and it seems like so far off before i can begin to scratch the surface. hopefully, this is just my immaturity as a researcher that is making me feel like things are so impossible. whatever the case may be, my only option is to get there. so.......what difference does it make?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

here for a reason

it's no coincidence i won my scholarship and was accepted to cambridge. i know i am capable. i just need to get the job done. the anxiety and eagerness i am experiencing lately is primarily because i know i can do the work, however, i have not been able to get started because i am waiting on hardware to come in. there are other things i can be/have been working on in the meantime, but the progress has been hindered due to the fact i have had to focus on so many different things. i feel like i am making excuses now (which is something i ABSOLUTELY cannot stand), so i will stop there in my disgust with myself. *big sigh*

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

a bit lost at the moment

i felt rather lost today and found it very hard to focus on my work. i think i may be a little stressed out about my research and a few personal things. i don't know. i hope it's not too serious, and i can bounce back rather quickly. this is the last hurdle i need in trying to get my work rolling along.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

more direction needed

in an effort to map out my next steps and end this seemingly mindless existence as a phd student, i wrote down my plan of action for the next couple of weeks. i have a couple of major items (and a couple minor items too) i am preparing to tackle, and i want to have everything set and ready as soon as possible. looking at my calendar, i will be heading home in a month. i have A LOT of work to do before i can feel comfortable leaving my research for 3-4 weeks. i would hate to have to cut my holidays short because i failed to accomplish my goals in these 2 months back. i still need to write down some more action-items for the next few days and help focus my attention on some tangible accomplishments.

Monday, November 13, 2006

the joys of independent Achievement

i picked up today where i left off on friday and continued striving to work through the road blocks that made last week such a trying experience. i had more fulfilling success, but there is still more work to be done before i can really get my research rolling along at the pace i would like. i was pretty pleased with myself for figuring out the problem and being able to fix it without having to bother anyone else for help. however, i feel my research is rather stagnant at the moment, but i guess i am learning useful things nonetheless. i am continuously told this by my colleagues, but i am blinded by the fact that the knowledge is not directly in line with my research goals.

on the other hand, is there really such a thing as "independent Achievement"? as much as others help us in our journeys, we are never where we are solely on our own merits. at what point can we claim victory as being "all our own"? that being said, i am convinced though that once i make enough progress towards my degree and become an "expert" in my research, that i will feel a much more independent feeling of Achievement. (shoot!, at least i hope so)

Friday, November 10, 2006

more upbeat but loads more work to get done

the week definitely ended better than it started out. the headaches that i faced earlier are almost all resolved, and i have found a few workarounds for some issues as well. i am looking forward to the weekend to clear my mind and get my research back on a progressive track. my colleagues have been very encouraging and been a source of motivation in the absence of my own self-ignition. let's see if we can have a better week starting monday.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

what am i doing? / where am i going?

that pretty much sums up how i am feeling at the moment. the plan of action i thought i had set in stone has clearly gone awry. the worst part about it is that i saw things taking a turn for the worst and was absolutely helpless in trying to turn the ship around. this week has rained on my my blissful research outlook parade and has served as a wake-up call and welcome back to my research here. somehow, i have got to find a way to keep fighting through this time and get out of this storm.........................QUICKLY. i would hate to have nothing to show for my return to cambridge when i go back home for the holidays.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

voting day

so i am not in the states to vote today, and i did not submit an absentee ballot. i know............i know. i am slacking in my civic duty. there is a chance though that somebody's electronic vote will be lost and not counted either. don't think it could happen, there are already glitches reported.

now that i have that out of the was a better day than monday was, but i still would have liked to get more work done. as trying a time as i am going through now, i am trying to stay focused, positive, motivated. it is EXTREMELY difficult though.

p.s. - check this out if you think global warming is a problem. the facts don't lie!!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

a stereotypical monday

had i known today's progress would be inversely proportional to the day's progression, i would have stayed in bed today. nothing went right. i made no progress. but hey, let's look on the bright side......i get to try all over again tomorrow.

Friday, November 03, 2006

more upbeat spirits

regrouping and refocusing definitely helped my mood/outlook after such a depressing end to the day yesterday. the couple of days off this weekend are much needed. it will be good to relax before the charge begins anew monday.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

in the midst of a valley

i should have realized that my feelings yesterday were foreshadowing to the next few days. as stated many times before, this phd process is full of ups and downs. and i am definitely at a down point in my work. as much as i thought that i had a clear idea of my research, i am still kicking and flailing as opposed to swimming smoothly along. on top of this, i am letting the big picture of my phd consume me as opposed to tackling the small tasks in front of me. it always baffles me how i can articulate my problems most times, but it is so much easier to recognize what is wrong at times instead of fixing the problem. it's definitely time for a pep talk. whether it be from me or from someone else, i need one bad.

i think i am beginning to get homesick (and i am not even 3 weeks in goodness i am weak) as well. i tried to fool myself into believing that i was content with my life in cambridge, but the truth is beginning to shine through. on my way to work this morning, i began to think about all of the things one has to deal with in life outside of work or school, and i cannot imagine having to deal with much more (marriage, family, kids, etc) than the "little" issues i have day-to-day. hats off to all those individuals that manage to juggle everything while maintaining their sanity.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

knowing when to call it a day

today was definitely one of those mundane days where it's difficult to stay positive, motivated, upbeat, etc. my work is pressing forward, but i do not have the tangible results that i would prefer at the moment. it feels weird writing this as the first post on the downside of my second year, but i should have known that it would come. as i go through this phd process, i have a new respect for phd's that have finished. the dedication, intelligence, strength, and perseverance that the degree requires in unbelievable. i am beginning to truly understand the importance of short-term goals in keeping one motivated along the way. i have about three smaller projects that i would like to have finished by the beginning of the year, but i have a lot of work to do and time to juggle in order to make these milestones a reality. well............that's enough for today. the mission now is to get some rest, re-group, and prepare to get the job done tomorrow.