This week… I think this week will be memorable for me, for a long period of time.
First of all, the analysis of my ERP experiment. “You have a great story to tell”, my advisor said. But I don’t know why, I couldn’t find a great excitement when I heard this sentence.
“But I don’t know how to explain these results.” I replied.
“There is a way. You can stick the epochs you cut together, to check whether the ambiguity provoked by word n°1 has been resolved when word n°2 has been shown.”
“But I already have a baseline correction for word n°2, isn’t it biased?”
“It is! Then you need to reanalyze your data.”
And this is how my week passed by, from Monday noon to Thursday evening.
“If you thing it’s too hard to reanalyze one more time, tell me, it’s ok not to do so.”
This reply was so nice of my advisor. But I know she knows me. And she knows I know her. And I know it was really really to be nice. And I know she knows me. And I know me. So, we both know how I would internally react to this reply:
“What?? Something that could be too hard for me??? NEVER!!! I will spend days and nights to have the work done! You’ll see, I’ll prove to you and I’ll prove to myself!”
Old impostor syndrom, that at least half of the Ph.D students have. It’s been hard. But I did it. And I was proud of me.
What a week!
Thursday evening. An e-mail from my co-advisor. She is picky, she looks at every detail, she is straightforward. But she’s never mean to anyone, she is just frank. This quality is so rare now, when almost everybody aims to be politically correct, to the point that they became intellectually incorrect. I think it can sum up the containt of the e-mail.
“Do you think it would be a good idea to rewrite the articles I sent to you, with the corrections you suggest?”
“I think it’s better to do the literature review again.”
Do it again. Redo it. I kind of already heard of it before, hum? In my scholarity, “redo it” was equal to “what you did was insignificant”. I don’t know if it goes the same for a Ph.D. With different advisors, from different backgrounds, who grew up internationally. Natural reflexes would be to get desperated. I can’t deny I didn’t have this feeling. For two or three seconds.
“Give up. Don’t give up this Ph.D. Dont give up your dissertation. Give up your mind, your feelings. You’re a student, you need to learn. You were good at school, until your Master degree, but it’s another court here. You need to go higher. You need a hand up. You had two hands this week. Give up your clichés. Go with them, trust them.”
And this is how I thanked my co-advisor, in my head. From this week, I have new routines, morning ones. Don’t wake up after 8:30 AM. Write 2 hours per day. Read two to three articles per week. Write their summaries. Ask for help, suggestions and revisions from your advisors. They’re here for you, they’re not mean to you, since they don’t really need you. They want to help you, and the way to help yourself is to make you go higher, not to be nice with you.