That’s the title of the last song I’ve uploaded in my soundcloud account four months ago. (and now I have a proper alibi for the title of this post)
… and perhaps that best describes my current situation. Nothing near to what the song’s lyrics imply (I don’t even understand it). But it is at least the first song that comes to mind. My cruel thesis is the academic type. This is the third time in my life that I’m writing a thesis, and I always feel terrible how I couldn’t do a lot of other things while on this stage. So if you could bear with me for a moment, here comes my rants as a grad student. :-)
On being Batman
Having been blessed with several talents, or at least that’s what I choose to believe :P, I’ve mastered the art of living day and night time identities. In other words, being a scientist by day, artist by night. I don’t mind not hanging around with (what I consider) normal people doing normal stuff. I find my freedom in being alone, taking control of my time, doing the things I like. But no matter how tempted I am to share how exciting I think my life is, I don’t let people at work know about it.
Paid grad school can be different from other jobs since you can be expected to devote more than just a 9 to 5 workload. At least that’s how it is in my unfortunate case. Unlike normal jobs, there’s a wide variation in what your bosses can be in grad school. There’s no guidelines, rules or standards on what an academic “supervisor” should be. And that where things can go wrong. A few weeks ago, I was asked to draft two papers at the same time, on top of the other two that I am already writing, and I had to finish in a week. I start to feel like the poor nameless hero in PhD comics. With such expectations, maintaining a secret identity is your protection. Otherwise your boss will think that you’re fairing well and still have enough time in your hands, and then, give you more work to do. Worst your boss will even blame your extra activities from preventing you from being the “best” you could be.
This is just temporary. While the thesis is still a demanding task. Because when I come back to my hobbies, I know how engaging it can be, and how many hours it will take away from what should have been work or proper rest (For some reason, my dreams are far more interesting than reality, making waking up difficult. I’d probably take the blue pill). Making music is fun, but it requires mental effort and creativity. And when I’m on it, it can keep bouncing in my mind for the rest of the day, not leaving space for other tasks.
Am I in the wrong career?
Not really. It’s more of I’m in the wrong work environment. I know several successful friends who have the same day time career as me and enjoy their after work hours doing a variety of creative stuff. Let’s face it. WHOLE day serious work is unhealthy and counterproductive. That’s why avoid doing it. In the right amounts, I do enjoy my work. And I manage living two (or more) active lives when my daytime work load is at normal levels.
My “Batman job” is not really “work”, and, being my own boss, I can fool around as much as I want, while still being productive. I believe that the world has so much to offer that focusing in one thing is a sad thing to do. Maybe that’s my idea of living a full life. Expressing your self in all the ways you can. Giving back to the world where ever you could. Not just in my daytime work.
I just can’t wait to get over this damned thesis!