Thursday, October 29, 2009

how to get out of a funk

I'm feeling a major lack of motivation lately. Mostly research related. I'm incredibly motivated to knit wrist-warmers, to cook huge batches of winter squash soup or meringue cookies, or even to fold clean laundry. But research? I always feel like doing it tomorrow. Or maybe after the weekend. I think that one major reason for this is that my advisor puts zero pressure on me to get any results. He comes in maybe once a week and talks to me for about 10 minutes before he bolts from the room. I mean, he's incredibly busy. But if I'm doing research for him, and he seems not to care about it, how can I care about it anyway? I feel like a horrible scientist, like shouldn't I have research motivation woven into my DNA, like an innate drive to do experiments and answer the lingering questions of the universe? Shouldn't I be driven enough to lead my own research, regardless of what my advisor is preoccupied with? Sometimes I do get a good result, or a weird result, and it brightens my entire day - I sing out loud in the lab and bounce up the stairs. But the rest of the time I'm totally dragging.

A good chunk of my research goal is to create a computer model of the process I'm working on experimentally. Now, I really don't know that much about modeling or writing code, and my advisor knows even less (and isn't a big fan of it anyway), so when I get stuck, I'm just stuck. When I think back to why I volunteered to do this modeling project, I want to kick myself. I actually thought that I might be getting married at some point, and maybe I'd want to have some purely-computer work that I could potentially do remotely, if, say, I wanted to pop out a kid or something. Yeah right!!!! Looks like that is as far from happening as ever! I feel like all my plans have stagnated and I'm just stuck in this phd program that doesn't even excite me anymore. I'm too far in to quit but too far from the end to just duck my head and sprint it out. I want to just step off the track and cry on the sidelines for a while. And hopefully have a revelation of some sort while I'm over there.

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