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Friday, March 29, 2013

Taking Doctoral Course

I ate lunch with my friend today under the sakura tree in front of my new building
We then talk about what we have learnt during our study as a doctoral student.
We talked about our burden as a foreign student and sometimes it can be quite crappy with the supervisors.

Then she told me when she watched the PhD movie, there was this one scene in which a master course student told the professor that he/she wanted to continue with the doctoral course. The professor then said that taking this kind of decision is like taking decision to enter a marriage with 70 percent possibility of divorce. My friend said that was a true story. In fact, she is now facing through `a divorce` with her supervisor. That surprised me in a way since I too have a problem with mine. We arrived at a conclusion in which I feel like a confirmation of what I have learnt a couple of days ago, which is, sometimes there are relationships that does not end well. And sometimes it is not entirely our fault. When we have tried our best to maintain the relationship but the other party does not give any effort with the same level, the chances are none but going downhill. Staying together will only make things worse and result in bigger damage. In her case, her physical health, in my case, mental state.

Different culture sometimes can be a big deal. Especially, if only one person has been outside the country. That person may adapt easier or at least more flexible than the other that only know one part of the world for the rest of his/her life. As a result, this kind of gap leads to misunderstandings. Actually, it can be overcome by communicating or confirming or discussing. However, in some culture that considers confrontation ( even the healthy one ) as a big no no and a threat to the entire member harmony, this party then tends to retract him/herself or avoid the problems or the person with she/he has the problem instead of trying to solve it. Finally, well, you know how the rest of the story will be. Another thing what I learnt also is that, as a foreign, no matter how right you think you are, no matter how nice and (seemingly) understand a native can be to you, the person will only be the same side of the other native. After all, you are the foreign one. So, do not take it personally.

I said to her but sometimes I can not deny the guilty feeling of making that kind of decision.
Maybe I am not trying hard enough.
If only I can be more patient.
But my friend then said, if there is only one thing she learnt these 3 years, that would be
sometimes it is ok (and healthy) to say no on something.
There is a limit as a person you can not bear
Try to cross will only destruct yourself
On that very moment, you just have to know your limit
and stop forcing yourself

Well, this is the bad side that you might experience during taking a doctoral course.
Abroad, especially.
It might not scientifically affected you as a researcher
but as a human being, apparently, it affects your life.
So do not overlook this kind of problem
When you know, as a team, you are not working it out
It might as well be the time to quit it
You will not hinder your former partner, and so won`t he/she.
In my case, thankfully, I do not have to state it directly to my big boss
(I desperately wanted to but at that time I consider I will put his career or position at the line, and I might be the enemy of the state)
As my senpai said, he might have known from other parties. Or probably from him (which is not fair since that would mean he did not confirm it to me about what happened)
And, as you know, the decision for me has been made.

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