Thursday, April 20, 2006

What should I do with my life?

Don't let the title fool you. This is not about depression. I am not depressed. I am, as a matter of fact, phenomenally excited. Phenomenal excitement and depression share some similar characteristics in that both raise existential concerns.

My excitement (as always) is due to work. Things are not going amazingly well, but certain thoughts have begun to formulate in my grey cells. I shall now proceed to do a strength - weakness - opportunity analysis of myself, a system that is handed down generations in my family. Dad uses it extensively.

Strengths:

I'm good at understanding things quickly.
I can explain experimental results, and often can intuitively guess what the results would be beforehand, if I understand the system well.
I like coding a lot. And years of experience have rendered myself moderately competent in debugging as well.
I am good at order-of-magnitude analyses.
I have a solid foundation - in physics, heat transfer and fluid mechanics. Elasticity will have to be looked into.
I have done a lot of courses in IIT, and they span a rather wide field of knowledge.
I also believe I am good at getting "original" ideas.
I can communicate well.


Weaknesses

I do a lot better when I develop a model from the scratch. If that does not happen, then I need to know the motivation behind the work. If I have to do something aimlessly, I do a pathetic job at it.
I other words, I need a reason do to something.
As of now, I am not too confident with experiments. I have not done much experimental work in my life. All my work until now, has either been analytical or based on "numerical experiments".
The fact that I can do "numerical experiments" quite well means I should be able to do experiments well.
I am really bad with the workshop. At IIT, I never could do the workshop classes well. My work here will require a lot of fabrication. So what do I do? I guess the only saving grace is that I have ample motivation : I know why I am doing it.
Before I do any experimental projects myself, I guess I will do a thorough numerical analysis / theoretical analysis to "optimize" the geometry as far as possible.
Often times, I prejudice myself with one of my ideas. My idea might have a glaring flaw, but my prejudice makes me oblivious to it often.
I don't know a lot of higher level math.
I am lazy.
I have this snobbish "idealistic" streak in me: I tended to look down upon experimenters and Fluent users.

Opportunities:

My guide works on experimental heat transfer - and is one of the best in the field in that subject. I could understand some experimental issues.
I could take the whole "experimental" thing as a challenge. I like challenges.
Building the experimental section might appear to be manual labor. But, there's 24 hours in a day. A few hours could be earmarked for theoretical work, if work demands it. Look at it this way - constructing an experimental section is a better use of time than watching Sienfeld!
Motivated work will overcome laziness. It has happened in the past.
As a PhD student, one has more opportunities to take up many courses in many subjects. Maybe a course on meteorology in the future, leave alone math!
Experiments are what got the world where it is today. If the mental block I have about experiments is removed, then I can contribute well. I understand that a theoretical basis is necessary to conduct any reasonable experiment, failing which, one will be consigned to be an eternal subordinate. I understand that I'm okay with the "theoretical" part, and only the experimental part needs urgent looking into.

Life is Beautiful. Let us all smile.

2 Comments:

At 1:10 AM, Blogger Sudhir said...

which iit are you from?

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger Akhilesh said...

Was from Madras. Mechanical Engineering.

 

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