Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Finding the One

Popular culture instils in us the belief that for everybody there is someone out there for them. That perfect person. That one in a million. It is a romantic notion and if we succeed in finding that ‘perfect one’ we are offered the promise of endless happiness and fulfilment. Unfortunately finding ‘the one’ is not easy. It can be a path of uncertainly, the right way to go is often obscured and wise men agree that we must be patient in our pursuit. In some ways this reflects how I feel about my quest for the perfect PhD topic.

I never had my heart set on any particular occupation. As I went through high school I felt with each passing year that my interests were becoming more focused, but selecting which course to study at uni was a long and difficult process. I finally decided to study psychology and that decision kept me focused and busy until last year when I realised that I would again be faced with another of those momentous life altering decisions. What now?

So I applied for graduate jobs and contemplated whether or not I should do a masters where I could put the thing things I had learned to good use by helping people in the ‘real world’. I even considered going abroad, but something about the buzz you get from conducting research, finding out things that no one before you has ever known and coming to understand what it is to be human kept me here at uni working in research.

So now that research has taken my fancy, it seems that the natural next step is to do a PhD. By many accounts, however, it seems that the world of academia is ultra competitive and cut throat and as a PhD student you only a few short years to stand out above a field of already tall poppies. It is also a long time and a lot of work to spend on something that you don’t love.

With this in mind, I want to find my one in a million - my perfect topic. Just like the path to true love, the path to the perfect PhD topic remains uncertain. In some ways I know that I may never find ‘the one’ and that I may grow to love another nice topic (but a girl can still dream can’t she?). Even though the perfect topic remains elusive, the quest through the maze has lead me to explore new ideas, try new techniques and meet new people and for now that isn’t so bad.

- Belinda

1 comment:

  1. Nicely put, Belinda! I have been feeling very much the same lately. After the "arranged marriage" of Honours, the big wide world of choice for a PhD topic is more than a little daunting...