Writing a behemoth

My thesis currently stands at a 304-page of a behemoth!

Like many others, my journey did come with its own set of struggles. I think I was pretty lucky compared to others: I have the capacity to take a break from full-time job to pursue a PhD, I am blessed with a supportive academic supervisor and loved ones who — at the very least, believe in my own capability, want the best for me, and let me figure out things on my own without being too overbearing — and many other privileges. I joined this PhD forum of a sort on Facebook and almost every day we kept receiving posts on how everyone else struggled: a loved one passed away, financial problems, problems with supervisor, lack of motivation, no idea where to start writing, etc.

My struggle at this exact moment, in this one of my last stretches of thesis submission, is the fact that I have been fussing feel I haven’t done enough to properly articulate the points of my thesis to my future examiners. And so every night, so far at least 25 revisions (someone please come and intervene), I have been trying my very best to make sure the points could be understood by the barest layperson. This is especially amplified after I came across theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder’s post on the communication gap between what you know about your research and what other people understand:

These are people who have – in some cases over decades – built their own theoretical frameworks, developed personal philosophies of science, invented their own, idiosyncratic way of expressing themselves. Along the way, they have become incomprehensible for anyone else. But they didn’t notice.

So they have their potentially brilliant insights out there, for anyone to see. And yet, no one has the patience to look at their life’s work. No one makes an effort to decipher their code. In brief, no one understands them.

This is also something symptomatic among academic researchers. We all have brilliant ideas, but if we walk into a room full of audience who are not in the same field for instance, yet our talk/presentation is catered to that audience otherwise (or perhaps the only audience who would understand our research is ourselves), then what good would it be?

At this point of time, this is a whole at least 453-word of my anxiety unfolding itself. If I go on, I could write something akin to Ducks, Newburyport, which is another behemoth. I guess at this point of time, I could just submit the whole 300-page, let the near future Zana worry about it, and wait for things to take care of itself.

Comment 1

  1. Pingback: What, at this moment, are you meant to know? – Two Kinds of Intelligence

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