Tag Archives: phd

The light returns

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The darkest, longest night of the year is past. Now we change course and move towards the sun again. Every day, the world will become a little brighter.

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It couldn’t come at a more fitting time for me. Last Friday, it was the day of my defense. In hindsight, I realize that I’ve been under more pressure about this than I thought – and I was aware of quite a lot of pressure! It feels as if for five years, I’ve slowly, excruciatingly rolled up in a tight ball, like a cramp or a Big Bang, and now that knot has loosened, the world has exploded into being, and I’m free. And at the same time, the sun returns. It’s almost too symbolic.

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I can’t believe it’s done – that it’s finally over. The longest project so far in my life, and it’s now finished. My road has been very stony, dark, and misty. I haven’t had a clue where I was going. It’s all been very confusing.

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But the defense went really well, I had a wonderful discussion with my examiner, my whole family was there to watch, my colleagues and friends and of course my husband. Instead of terror, I felt a cautious kind of joy. My work was accepted by the person I respect most – and whose model I used in my studies! Talk about coming full circle.

The party afterwards was wonderful, and I’m not as tired as I should be. I feel like a load of stones have fallen from my shoulders, and I can begin to straighten up again. And above all: I can now be an ordinary person again. I’m not a PhD student anymore. I’m a doctor. I’m done. There’s nothing more to prove. I can go about my business like everyone else and not have to reach for the stars. I can relax. I don’t have to know everything. I can let things be as vague as they are in the real world and not pretend to have an answer.

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Well, at least as long as I’m not talking to the media, but you know… :-/ I can move on! Maybe on one of these. 😉

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The Ne knockout

I don’t know what it’s like for other INTPs, but my extraverted intuition really doesn’t need much prompting to go off on a creative spree. Today I decided to just lie down and read since I have a bad case of lumbago (too much photography in cold weather?). Well, I managed three pages before I was hit by the Ne lightning and scampered off to the computer to cram a whole truckload of ideas into my article – ideas that were mostly unrelated to the book I was reading.

I mean… this is Ne, right? Like the erratic spangles on a river, glinting here and there, almost too fast to catch. And if you don’t snap that shot, they’re gone forever.

 

The trouble with focus

It seems like some kind of cosmic joke that I have trouble focusing with my new camera. I mean, it’s metaphorical enough to be a theme in a book of mine! (Actually, maybe I’ll use it. Maybe for the Midsummer story.)

I’ve been googling and also reading the old-fashioned way, so I know sharpness in images comes down to shutter speed, aperture, ISO, movement and, well, focus, and I’ve identified a few areas that need work. But ridiculously enough, the hardest one to master is the goddamn focus.

I adjust it to where I’m planning to stand (if it’s a self portrait) and then switch to manual, and then I position myself where I focused… and yet I turn out as fuzzy as I feel.

Because that’s just it: I have trouble focusing. In my life, in my writing, in my PhD. I jump from idea to idea, and the grass not only always greener, it pops out at me before I’ve even had a taste this side of the fence, which means I never get any grass at all. It doesn’t matter if my glass is full or not, because I’m already looking at something else and will never drink it.

This is the curse of extraverted intuition. But it’s also an absolute joy. I wouldn’t trade my Ne for anything. It’s what keeps me interested in life, writing – and yes, occasionally, the PhD. It’s how I can take two wildly different ideas and merge them to create a connection that wasn’t there before. It’s the basis for my sense of humour. It’s my childish excitement about everything that’s bright and shiny.

But what it lacks is focus. To harness all that wide-eyed wonder, I have to use other functions. I have to force Ne into submission for the half minute or so it takes to snap that self portrait. Because without focus, everything that Ne loves just peters out and disappears.

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Trying to get some focus.