Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Six more months

I have received an extension in my funding. I am in the process of renewing it until the end of July.

I can't say this is what I've been hoping for. I actually would prefer receiving word about my PhD - I need to be sure it is going to happen. This actually worries me a lot, because that's my only chance of getting to keep working in the academic environment for now. I'm not sure what I'm going to do if I don't get the funding.

I won't say I'm not happy about the renewal - I welcome it with wide open arms. It's just that, although nothing is certain about my PhD yet, I was kind of counting on having a bigger stipend beginning sometime around the middle of this year. I'm finally getting rid of all my financial problems and I wanted to have some more breathing room for using the extra money I would get to start building up my future. This sounds cheesy at best, but I don't really have other way of saying it.

The fact is, I'm almost 27 years old and all I own is in my bedroom (which is not actually mine). This is not even close to where I wanted to be ten years ago.

Come to think of it, ten years ago I was entering my final year in high school, and preparing myself to enter college. My expectations were completely different then. I had a clear path ahead of me, I knew exactly what I wanted. Looking back at the plans I made then I can't help but feel a bit guilty of failing to live up to those expectations. In high school I was a good student, my grades were great and I basically could do anything I wanted. That certainly changed a lot once I got into college. My grades were never the same, I took longer - way longer - than I expected to graduate and I ended up in an area I would never imagine I would have any interest in. Not that I dislike what I do now, mind you, I'm just saying that ten years ago I wouldn't even have considered working with crystallography and applied physics.

I admit I learned a lot in the past ten years. Not only in physics, but as a person as well. Not that it's an unexpected thing, I believe everyone really finishes growing up during this period in their lives. However, I wish I was more mature when I began than I was. It would have saved me a lot of trouble and would have made my life a lot easier. And, although I did graduate, I can't help but feel a bit troubled by the fact that my knowledge of physics is not as extensive as I think it should be. Although I passed all the needed courses during my graduation, I fail to recollect the knowledge I allegedly acquired during those courses, with a few exceptions. Surely I can explain the basics of the inner workings of the atomic nucleus, or how Maxwell's equations give rise to the wave equation of electromagnetic radiation. But I would have serious problems trying to explain those things in detail, or more advanced topics - although I supposedly studied them. Then, of course, all of this rambling might just be completely pointless, since I haven't reviewed those topics in a while and I'm just being neurotic about it - this certainly wouldn't be unheard of.

All in all, I honestly believe everyone asks themselves whether or not their own ten-year-youger-selves would approve of them now. I do have a lot of concerns about my future, and I have no idea where I'm going to be ten years from now, but worrying too much about those concerns will only make them become reality. The best I can do is aim for the best.