Un-Delete

I had this idea. The idea was that I’d do a Ph.D.  It was a half-formed idea which seemed semi-appealing but with a number of attendant problems.

I talked briefly to the Chief Brain again, who said that obviously funding and the quality of the proposal are linked: the better the proposal the more likely funding will be forthcoming.  She said it in a nice way, because she’s a nice person.

I didn’t really have any proposal, let alone a half-decent one reducible to a researchable problem.  I’m pretty busy, and I couldn’t see how I was going to get one all packaged up before the deadline (end of January).  We also have a good chunk of financial instability around here: both K-man and I on short-term contracts, and I just gave up one of my part time jobs.  There were also some boring bureaucratic points: my government won’t give funding to people who haven’t been ordinarily resident in the country for the last three years, which I haven’t.  That chaps the hide because I’ve been British all my life, I’ve paid a wadge into the tax pot over the years, and I’m back now after my brief interlude away (how dare I?).  The hurdle’s not insurmountable but it would be a bit of a hassle to convince them.

So, last week I mentally let go of the idea.   Nah, I thought, I’ll think about it next year.  I could do it part time.  Different obstacles will rear their heads by then (the currency of my research education will be open to query; a mole-hill rather than a mountain), but I’ll have had time to develop an exciting idea, write a literature review, and get funding in place.

So there I was, merrily soaping away in the shower and contemplating yet another hideous commute when suddenly inspiration kicked me in the head.  An idea shot from nowhere, loosely inspired by the notion of sticking with what I know rather than trying to delve in depth into something I know almost nothing about.

This, folks, is THE idea.  It is so exciting, so interesting, that I can easily contemplate spending three years doing nothing but researching it.  It has public policy implications, practical application, and it’s even objectively non-boffin fascinating.  It ties in very well with my current job.  The more I tooled the idea around in my head, the more exuberant I became.

I had to resist the urge to text the Chief Brain.  I think she is going to love it.  I love it.  I can’t bear to think that I wouldn’t be able to do it.

This is where it starts.  You do a Ph.D because you can’t help yourself.

I officially can’t help myself.  What seemed insurmountable obstacles before have suddenly shrunk to pavement-cracks over which to step.  I have to give it a shot.

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6 Responses to “Un-Delete”


  1. 1 lane November 19, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    I got chills when I read this! Also, I’m sure you know what the hell “ordinarily resident” means exactly in legal speak more than I do, but it might help your argument that you owned a home in London for the duration of your stay abroad. At least that’s the sort of thing that would get bonus points here. I just can’t believe the fact that you worked in your field in a different commonwealth country would count against you. You’ll clear that hurdle, no doubt!

  2. 2 Michelle November 20, 2010 at 2:28 am

    Go for it. Your post is so incredibly inspiring!

  3. 3 Suzanne November 20, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Yes, you do! You DO have to give it a shot! I promise you will not regret giving it a shot, whereas I’m pretty darn sure you will feel tremendous regret if you do not. I’m looking forward to hearing more about the exciting journey ahead! Go, Nic!!

  4. 4 Mrs. G. November 21, 2010 at 3:47 am

    This is why I admire you so much. You are fearless and passionate and obstinate in all the good ways. Let’s Skype!

    Also, I’m glad Dino is in recovery. He’s such a darling.

  5. 5 Jenn @ Juggling Life November 21, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Exuberance is a wonderful thing–I can’t wait to hear more.

  6. 6 Stacie November 22, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Inspiring, indeed. Can’t wait to read more about it.


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