The postscript in the logbook of my PhD journey

指南者教育 2015-01-13

When I came to ASU and started my graduate study in 2007, my ultimate achievement was like the Neverland far away on the horizon and hidden in a veil of mysterious mist. Can I succeed to earn a PhD degree? – I was at sea. The first boat I took was the teaching assistantship for the undergraduate course Dr. Rittmann taught for a full semester. Not only did this unique experience enable me to have close communication with Dr. Rittmann and, later, to join his research center, but it was also loaded with exhibits of how honored and fun a successful academic life could be. I was ‘dazzledyetconfused’.

When I embarked on ‘a Journey to the center ofresearch’ as a research assistant in SCEB, I made clear at the first moment that, while the gigantic steamboat was floating in the sea, I had my feet on the deck. However, sometimes we get a promise out of focus when practicing it. I used to suffermal de merand think about giving up. But I finally made it.

A year ago, Dr. Rittmann took a trip to China and made a number of presentations in universities. When asked by a student about how to overcome the occasional setback, Dr. Rittmann answered frankly: ‘Sometimes we got manuscripts rejected, did not win project proposals… those are truly frustrating and discouraging. However, I did not let the negative mood last long. No matter it was frustration due to some failure or exhilaration after great successes, I will forget it soon and move forward.Keep moving forward– this is what we must always do.’ I was quite impressed by it. Although I had not heard this philosophy in full words before, myself and other PhD graduates and researchers in SCEB have imperceptibly been influenced by it and (in retrospective) perceptibly obtained benefits from it. This is a powerful engine driving the gigantic steamboat towards its destination.

Another super engine isbeing organized. It is repeatedly mentioned and consistently executed by Dr. Rittmann regarding many aspects: from the very detailed literature reading, appointment scheduling, and bench cleanup, to the very general life of study, research, and family. During the past years, I have more and more perceived and appreciated the weight this simple term carries, especially during monumental turning points on the track of my life, such as my comprehensive exam, my marriage, the birth of my daughter, and, of course, my graduation this month.
The steamboat has conveyed me to the ‘treasure island’ which was beyond the horizon years ago. Upon landing on the ground, I saw more prosperous isle of academy unfolding in front of me. I hailed like Faust ‘Ah, thou art so fair!’, but did not make the moment ‘linger on’. Going back on board, I should keep moving forward to new adventures in a better organized manner.