Today I gave my first academic guest lecture! (I learned afterwards I will actually get both paid and university credit for this – yay!) It was an exciting chance – presenting something highly complex that I know from practice, and due to this deadline I had a pressure to learn about the academic side and theories and prepare to tell what in my opinion are most salient issues of the topic. I hope I was sufficiently down to earth and practical, and able to make my topic approachable while giving new ideas to the listeners.
This week I have also been programming and approaching my data. Finally, I could say – yet the feedback I have got has been to slow down a bit, as “I’m in no hurry”. But I’d like to jump in the data and try out things, and to learn to program and get a more personal feeling of the data. I discussed the possible routes with my experienced colleague and came to the conclusion that I should try out various things (rather than set out to solve an issue in one way only) and limit myself mostly w. r. t. the time I choose to spend with each problem, rather than try solving an analytical process problem in an optimal way. So be it!
I suppose if I’m told left and right to slow down, I should heed the advice. – I take there’s at least two practical reasons for the advice I get: one is the fact that I should take the time to find my “intellectual” home, the other is the fact that the pace at the university is pretty slow. I need to give the time for people to get familiar with me, so that I can actually be offered co-operation possibilities in near future. And this latter option fits quite well with what I have in mind – namely that I want to explore a bit before deciding what I want to do next, or after completing the PhD.
I feel I’ve made some great progress (e.g. by giving that guest lecture, I tackled one big issue and learned many things about myself and my interests) but it feels like I’m still pretty far from knowing what I will want to do later in practise. I hope to reach that conclusion or at least an idea sooner the better… as frankly said, it appears that the university traditionally is not very successful in providing PhD students with answers to that question other than “you may have the option to become a professor”, and in a small print: “probability is one in a million”.