Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A new phase

Tomorrow marks a new phase on my life, when I come closer than ever before to what has been my aim since 10th grade (something I was reminded of recently). This is my first semester as a TA and my duties begin tomorrow, although I have been working on it for at least a month now. It's a funny feeling being on the other side of the classroom after spending almost my entire life on one side. I've already learned a couple of things - everything you do must have a definite, quantifiable outcome (maybe this is an American thing?), and that the syllabus needs to be updated every now and then. Oh, and AutoCAD is extremely frustrating to use (I knew that back in BTech 4th year, of course)!

Honestly, I have no idea how to be a TA (something like how parents have no idea how to raise kids?). Yes, I hope my students aren't reading this! I know the golden rule, which also happens to be the golden rule of a PhD - be patient. Patience seems to be the biggest lesson of life, presumably. And patient I must be, especially given the difficulties with getting the lab running. I do hope to do a good job, but most importantly, I hope to learn from the experience.

This semester also brings with it other difficulties - a lighter course load certainly, but a course that will be the defining part of my PhD - ME 412. I need to get out of the lethargy of last semester, when I had temporarily stopped any research to do homework - and get back on track. A PhD is not a job, and one must guard against becoming institutionalized in it. This semester will need some concerted work, to meet my TA and RA duties as well as to meet other targets (a driver's license being top priority). So much to do - and it all starts tomorrow!