Progress…

It’s late, and I don’t want to stay up to write a long post. I have stuff planned, but I’ve been busy lately.  I just wanted to share the news that my thesis passed my committee’s review, and after several hours of LaTeX work, it has now passed the university’s checks as well.

In theory, I should just be able to drop off a copy in person, but I have a feeling that its going to be a bit more challenging than that from Denmark.

Progress is progress.  I’m celebrating with a late night bowl of musli.   (:

New ideas

It’s 6:00am, with three hours before Copenhagenomics and I’m solidly awake.  Jet lag is annoying, at best, but it’s been a great week of travelling and visiting in Denmark.  The interesting thing for me has been how stimulating it has been as well – even before the conference has started.

Part of that has just been getting myself out of the thesis mindset.  I’ve gone from being focussed on wrapping up my project to thinking a little further out.  That is, what would I work on if I were not summarizing my past work for my thesis. It was a question put to me by a bioinformatician at CLC bio, and I like sore tooth, I just can’t stop playing with it.

Because of it, I’ve come up with some wonderful ideas.  I guess this, to me, is just reinforcing the idea that sabbaticals really do work.  Even if the break from writing is short, just breaking out of the artificial walls I’d built around myself to keep myself from getting distracted from my thesis and papers has been a productive change.  Interacting with new people has been a great catalyst.

I’m really looking forward to the conference this morning and the opportunity to interact with more people and spark even more new ideas, but now I’m also looking forward to going home and getting my thesis done.  I have things I want to do and all this writing is standing in the way.

blogging as practice for thesis writing…

I’ve been telling all of the students around me that they should try their hand at blogging – in fact, I’ve been telling everyone around me that blogging is definitely something you should try if you have a chance. I know that not everyone has a lot to say, but that it’s a great habit to be in. It’s a great way to practice organized writing (without 140 character limits), putting your views out where others can see it, defending your ideas and, of course, it’s great practice at organizing your thoughts. In other words, it’s a microcosm of your final 6-9 months of your graduate studies.

Indeed, I had no idea how much that advice was actually worth till I sat down yesterday afternoon, and started writing out some parts of my thesis. (Yes, I’m now actually writing my thesis!) The brilliant thing was, after spending so much time writing on my blog, the thesis seems SO much easier than the ones I’ve done in the past. (This is actually my 4th thesis.) The text just flowed, which makes the whole process rather fun.. (Yes, thesis and fun in one sentence!)

When I sat down and organized my thoughts on a subject, things just came together and I knew what I wanted to say and how to say it, which I can only ascribe to the endless practice of writing on my blog. Yes, the style is a bit different and less reflective, but other than minor stylistic changes, the process is almost identical.

So, for anyone who’s going to eventually have to write a thesis, I’ll make a suggestion: start practicing for it by starting a blog, even if no one reads it. Keeping your writing skills in shape is invaluable.