The Five Emotions of Thesis-Writing
A while back, one of my labmates claimed that there are only five permissible emotions at a scientific conference: Nervous, excited, preening, jaded, and overwhelmed.
I think there are also five emotions that one can experience while writing up a thesis: Despair, frustration, irritability, relief and robot. “Robot” is the state I am aiming for most of the time. It’s what I feel when I’m working effectively, a sort of detached contentment mixed in with cheerful bleeps and bloops whenever I finish a computation. Oh, but sometimes it’s more a sort of detached grouchiness mixed in with curmudgeonly bleeps and bloops whenever I figure out what exactly is wrong with someone else’s work. The ability of “robot” to blend what would otherwise be entirely distinct emotional states into a blurry haze of work is one of its primary charms.
I just finished a draft of the review paper that will also be my first chapter. I’m not sure it’s complete – I’m pretty sure it’s a felony in several scientific jurisdictions to write the review I am writing without discussing a really trendy form of crystallized methane ice for at least a couple of paragraphs – but it has acquired a certain glossy semblance of adequacy. Which is good, ’cause there’s an April 1 deadline to get this
shi superior work of brilliance into a special issue of Marine and Petroleum Geology.
Anyway, regular blogging should resume… eventually.