07 March 2012

I have complained about this more often, I guess, so sorry, dear readers, but I need to vent.. My Achilles heel is that I freeze when uncertain. More specific: my problem is that I can not decide what the take home message of my current paper should be. Some digging in my psyche and talking with friends made me realize: I am capable of deciding and advising on all sorts of matters, just not on my PhD topic. The why behind that issue is also clear: I am afraid I will decide to pick a message that, seen through the eyes of the Experts, is crap. Because none of my supervisors is an expert in the topic I am working on, I feel that the decision is mine, while I do not have any back up. In my horse world, I know that what I know is not BS. When friends ask me their opinion, I easily give it. Coming from a family of hotel and cafe owners, I can also easily see what needs to be changed when eating out or sleeping in a hotel. Only on the matter of my thesis, I just freeze. Writing one of my previous articles was easy, nobody had touched that topic, so our study was the first. I do not mind at all if other people come up with other ideas, I do not mind that in the end I might be wrong on that topic. The core topic of my thesis however simply isn't that "new". I could easily have missed some papers, or formulated the already proven wrong ideas. And simply do not know about it. I read all related stuff, search through google, I pubmed, and all that stuff, I am almost certain I am safe. But what if there is a key word I simply do not know about since I am not in the inner circle? I just wish I had a supervisor I could trust on this topic, who would say ""Jump, there really is water in the pool, the pool only looks empty. Trust me, it isn't. You could say that after 4 years, I should be mini-expert on my topic. Problem is, I never had a decent conversation with an expert. Yes, I presented posters on conferences, but never had a talk. Yes, people stopped by my posters, and gave thumbs up, but those people never were experts. And I was too shy to introduce myself (why should this expert want to be bothered by me, simple phd student...). Being uncertain is a pain in the ass.

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