KD-ADS: Expanding Horizons

Cos thinking should never be stagnant...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Too soon to be true? (An Unexpected Direction)

So it has finally come down to the last one month and a half of my Honours year. By the end of next month, I am expect to have finished a 12,000word thesis, a 5000 word report, and another 5,000 word essay. Well, I can't say that I will be bored, but I certainly got a lot more on my plate than I initially thought. For one, I was hoping to finish my thesis by the end of this month, but it looks like things are not going to turn out that way.

But another unexpected option has surfaced, and this will steer the firection of my future permanently. That pertains to my decision to pursue with postgraduate study next year, and while I had contemplated following up with postgraduate studies eventually, I didn't expect it to be so soon. While I did not intend to stay for too long (then again haven't I always been saying that?), an innocent questioned posed by my supervisor shifted the focus of my mindset:

"Why don't you just do a PhD?"

Not barring the fact that I doubt I am smart enough to undertake this task, it was a question that, for all its innocence, I am advised to seriously consider. After all, I was going to do it one day, it was only a matter of sooner or later. Two, I already had my research goal in mind, and there is a good enough reason to pursue it right now. And lastly, if I were to be considered eligible in my application, why not seize the opportunity before it goes away? These propositions would only indicate that advancing with a PhD is not that outrageous a decision after all.

Alternatively, are there other options for me right now? The simple answer is quite an odd no. It certainly seems hard to expect that I can sought for a good prospectful job in my home country, and it would equally be erroneous to assume that I can easily find a satisfying job given the employment climate right now. And nobody should really complain about the level of pay in a university setting. However, there is a few inescapable goals I wish to achieve, and it seems to me that undertaking a PhD might drastically alter the scope I have in fulfilling these dreams.

Was obtaining a PhD an ambition? It wasn't, and honestly I don't see the honour in it all. I do think there is great merit to accept this challenge and develop an intellectual mature repertoire of skills, nobody else would say that it is a useless goal, but what should one make of the other ways to achieve this means? Perhaps there is more than just studying in the same university for years, even though one can achieve a lot, there is always the potential to explore beyond that goal.

Is there a more fundamental reason that I am not considering this option more favourably? Indeed, and for no other absurb rationale then that I am still attached to the responsibility of my dogs at home. The situation would be vastly different if they were with me, but I still place great emphasis in staying by their side till their natural death, and I hate to think of myself as not being on their side during their time of passing. Although I can't claim as to when that time would arrive, and I may get rebuffed as being too sentimental for being close enough to give up my career based on the lives of two canines, but it is not an easy decision to whisk away the feelings of those you love and live in a detached environment.

That same dilemma also comes full circle in a similar scenario with another loved one here. Although the situation is much easier to deal with, given the relative mobility of the parties involved, and that the relationship is open to negotiations, it retains the same core difficulty: giving up on a cherish being to achieve a dream or goal.

Some have said that dreams are only best fulfilled when your loved ones are in full support of you, otherwise the victory will seem half-empty, if you are the only one standing at the end. Some have on the other hand, remarked that in order to achieve big dreams, you have to sacrifice the small gifts in life, which may include relationships and other treasures. While nobody would suggest that you have to live a single lonely life to achieve all you want, the requirement still remains that the success in life comes at the price of small guilty pleasures or more.

Unfortunately, there is one undeniable aspect to all this. The issue of regret confronts all of the decisions we make, and the pain that accompanies with it, we all wish to avoid it. How should one grapple with regret? To never regret and to never face pain? To regret willfully and promise to try better in the next round? Alas, the consequences are not always imaginable in their own right, and more so, do we ever have to be more cautious about how we approach matters. Are certain goals even worthy of the regret that follows after that?

Unfortunately I can't complete this line of thought. It is too lofty a desire to make up a decision on my future by the end of a blog post. Nevertheless, this central question will be one that I must contend with, still I embark again on a new journey next year.