[Tuesday, October 16] Back to the marathon

I think last week has been the most tiring, and the most productive of my PhD so far. Let’s recap in order.

I had my first meeting with my two advisors at the same time last Tuesday. I was so stressed, and had a lot of questions at the same time. What I was the most afraid of was that my two advisors wouldn’t like each other, or had different visions for my dissertation… But at the end, it went very very fantasticly well! They have the same idea, eventhough they come from different backgrounds, and we had long discussions about my dissertation topic and schedule, potential committee members, etc. I felt so relieved when it finished, as if the long time of doubts from the first year ended, and now I can keep going as I have been these two last months! As my principal advisor said, I’m on the right track!

BUT! When I got back to the lab, I had a big surprise, that is positive in a way. I had to do another pilot test for my experiment, and I launched it last Monday evening on the Internet… and I discovered that I had more than 40 participants already! Right now, I have 75 of them… You may think it’s ok, since I just have to load the data in R or any other statistical software, and that the number of participants is not a real problem. But this pilot test is a kind of quantitative one, so I have to look at every sentence of each participant. If we recap, 75 participants, 32 sentences by participant, total of 2400 sentences to clean, annotate, analyze and order. Clearly, I wasn’t completely ready last Thursday morning, when I had to present the results at the neurolinguistic seminar. But you know, when you change the first title of “Results of the pilot test” into “Preliminary results of the pilot test”, it works well! Yet, I wasn’t very happy about this, I like to present complete and clean data, so I haven’t been in a very good mood last Thursday.

Besides, a lot of other things needed to be done last week. I will present the results of my last year experiment this Friday at a conference, so we had a lab meeting last Friday, to have a mock presentation. But you see how busy I have been this week… so I had to prepare the presentation the Thursday afternoon and evening! I really hate to work, or more exactly to have deep work in the evening. I prefer having to focus a whole day, but when I leave the lab, I know it’s over until the day after. But I had no choice! At the end, the mock presentation went very well, and I’m confident about the results I have to present. This is the more important, and I received a lot of very good advices from my advisor and other lab members concerning the form of the presentation. Now I’m really looking forward this Friday’s presentation!

This week also had grey clouds… and these clouds are the same as last week. It’s to say, I haven’t finished written the summary of Dowty’s article, and I’m really unhappy about this. These last two months, I got the habit to write every day, and it paid in some way. I don’t want to loose this habit at all. So, yesterday I decided, after work, to go back running along the Tamsui river of Taipei, and to run as long as I can. I’m not a sporty person, but what I like in running is that most of the time, when we stop, it’s not completely because our body can’t handle it, but also because we decided to stop. So yesterday, I decided to have the longest run I ever had, no matter how slow I was running, and no matter the amount of time it took. And it worked! So I want to get back the habit of running, and the habit of writing. They aren’t very different in fact, they are just different kinds of activities, but the principles and outcomes are the same!

Before leaving with this week’s objectives, I would like to share this picture, of guards in the Sun Yet-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei. They have to stand like this for one hour, before other guards come to exchange the places. I’m always impressed by their posture, and by the fact that nothing can disturb them. I hope I can learn from them!


Goals of the week

1. Finish the reading and the summary of Dowty (1979) urgent
2. Finish the analyses of the pilot test’s results urgent
3. Finalise the presentation for the conference on Friday urgent
4. Prepare the code for the next (and hopefully!) last pilot test important


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