My academic journey through Taylor Swift songs | Just for fun | Goodbye, academia

I was 11 when I decided that I wanted to be a physicist. 

I learned that rest and motion were relative and that the grand unified theory still needed a lot of help.


in Antarctica for blog how to phd
On one of my best days on the journey


But I never scored the highest marks in physics.

I always did better in biology, chemistry, and of course, English.

My teachers thought I would go on to major in English.

To be fair, I did want to become a writer even earlier and had started writing a book when I was 8.

(But I ditched it because the topic required more life experience) 

I did better even in math! My most feared (and revered) subject throughout school.

Why couldn't I have the validation that pursuing physics was the right choice for me?

Even then, I Knew You Were Trouble, my physics ambitions. 

But I was determined that: You Belong With Me.

Throughout high school, though, I continued to score just about average in physics.

It was a struggle but it was never my Style to give up. So, I majored in physics in college.

Actually, I Did Something Bad and double majored in physics and chemistry and minored in math and music.

(Totally unnecessary, prospective undergrads. One major is enough)

I had come all the way to the United States to pursue my ambitions and promptly lost my mind over the available opportunities.

I was ready to Begin Again and conquer. 

My Love Story with science took off. I discovered partial credit, undergraduate research opportunities, and super supportive professors.

If not Teardrops on My Guitar, there were plenty of sweat drops on my violin and a permanent scab on my collarbone.

From calculus 2 in the morning to symphony practice at night, I ran around the giant NC State campus acting like I Don't Wanna Live Forever (actually I do) 

Call It What You Want, but even the wonderful people running the dining hall would sometimes let me in late - thank goodness and the sweet people of North Carolina 💓

Then I went to graduate school - of course, for physics.

I was super excited to get into graduate school but I was not totally Out of the Woods, yet.

I had a hard time finding the right fit for a research group. 

Yes, in America, you get into graduate school and then you get recruited by a research group. 

I wanted to get into something like astrophysics or cosmology, but there was tough competition.

I was a teaching assistant and every door I knocked on only opened to fellowship holders. You know, students that didn't have teaching duties. 

I knocked on lots of doors. They all said no.

So then I decided to start from a Blank Space and joined a group in condensed matter experiment.

Look What You Made Me Do, Astro peeps. 

I believe in moving in the forward direction at all times, no matter what. I don't wait for things to happen, not even astrophysics.

I did feel sad whenever I looked up at the night sky, though, which was pretty inconvenient.

At the beginning of my first Summer in grad school, I pushed again and harder and finally got my first break:

Cosmology theory! It was Gorgeous.

This led to an opportunity in cosmology experiment at the end of the Summer. 

On the one hand, I was really thrilled to be in cosmology, on the other hand, the group was a terrible fit. Absolutely no support.

Moreover, whenever I googled cosmology, I found more on makeup than anything else.

I needed a good advisor! But I was all alone and my grad career was not moving forward. 

Again, I hate to stagnate and do nothing.

It was a Delicate situation and I was running out of teaching assistantship support. 

Somehow, I managed to switch groups again without Bad Blood and landed in my final research group.

Everything about this group was better. More support, more science.

I had never taken a particle physics class before, but particle astrophysics felt like it was Mine.

Never in my Wildest Dreams did I think I would get to go to Antarctica, but I got to have the experience of a lifetime.

My Ph.D. ended up being much more exciting than I had imagined. 

I learned so many things including how to Shake It Off, do better, and move on when criticized.

I got a much closer look at academia during the last year of my Ph.D. - the most challenging year.

This led me to update my End Game: I didn't want to be a professor anymore.

It was rough but I transitioned to industry. 

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, but academia and I go way back so I won't forget what has been Ours

**************************

Thank you to all my professors especially those who didn't believe in me. Life has been evermore interesting because of you. 

Thank you to Taylor Swift for being a genius, hit songwriter/singer.

Thank you to all my academic friends - Y'all are the best. Good luck and goodbye. Take care of the night sky for me 💙 

Thank you to YOU for reading - please comment below!

10 comments:

  1. Very well written Oindree!!!!!!!! Congrats for the transition!!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Gaowei!!
      Excited to hear from you!

      Delete
  2. You are so full of energy Oindree! Loved your write-up :)
    I am sure you have many more adventures waiting for you!!!

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    Replies
    1. Oh thank you thank you Sahana!!
      Awesome to see you here :)

      Delete
  3. Very creative and imaginative writing. Very different in style and content and special for being so

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  4. What a great way to write about your experiences. I love that you talked about taking the hardest path and then the hardest decision to shift your direction. Your insight into yourself is a great strength. Great way to use Tay tay song titles :) Great reading.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sally!
      Thank you so much for reading and for the very kind comments!!
      Hope to see you back here!
      Yes, TAYLOR! :) :)

      Delete

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