For a while, I thought my research focuses have been fairly random exploring many sectors of interests without much connection each other, including hydrogel adhesion (mechanisms to applications), 3D printing (mechanical isms to active materials), and conducting polymer hydrogels (materials to fabrication).
Interestingly, I find that all these scattered topics are now covering into one place under relatively well categorized forms. With this, getting new ideas and writing papers become much easier than before - I already submit two papers in the last 3 weeks, two more in next two weeks, one more before this September, and maybe one or two more before this December, all first authored. It is unexpected, but enjoyable development after all. All these laborious exploration and meandering in my early grad school days probably be finally paid off. Hopefully, this converting theme can be long-term one to fuel my curiosity and career in the future.
As my graduate study culminates into its finale, I am spending quite a time to think on my next career steps.
My childhood dream is being professor in university, which now becomes fairly realistic career option with relatively low uncertainty. However, for this career, it turns out to be a much tricker question than my naive childhood dream. Being professor is one thing, but professor of what university is more important in practice. While changing post is more and more common in academia, the first choice is typically irreversible. So, I may need to be patient until I get what I can get best.
In parallel, as an engineer, it is highly tempting to translate my technologies into practical stuffs - or more tangibly speaking, money making company or business. I invented many things along with many academic papers, but not many of them have potential for translation. But, if I am lucky enough, I may get one or two technology that worthy of trying. Really not sure about this option yet, but it is worthy of thinking, particularly because academic career as young faculty is not financially rewarding choice.
In the field, it has been common sense that people have to choose one of career option but not both. However, many recent examples shows that careful career plan may enable to grab both options in highly successful manner. As like always, future will unfold as it becomes reality. Excitements and worries are both dancing inside my mind. But, maybe, this is joy of life.
This year's commencement is few days ahead. This year is not for me, but mine will come next year. Kind of making me of recalling my graduate student life so far, facing my commend a year ahead (actually less that that for defense itself).
I have lived busy life in MIT for last several years. Busy is fairly qualitative expression, but the record also tells that I have been quite busy. Around the end of this year, I may publish over 25 papers and over 15 of them are lead-authored ones for less than 5 years. Probably can be safely said as a busy life.
Many things make my life busy. Being one of the first members of the newly starting MIT lab is one thing. Personality of easily being bored is also critical too. Pressure from life-problems around family counts a lot either.
Probably I will be busier in coming years. Starting a new career as an independent researcher in university will be a big job (also finding job itself too). Still, this busy life gives more of excitement and fulfillment rather than tiredness and frustration. I still feel the growing self every day and weeks (intellectually and experience-wise indeed. My body gets older not growing anymore sadly).
My busy life, I should call you quite rewarding so far.
Life is full of excitement and boredom at the same time.
Interestingly, my drive for progress and growth has mostly come from losing interest (almost completely) from boring things. My strong tendency toward seeking something new might come from this personality. Well, world is full of useless things and incapable stuffs, so why not?
In this regard, rabbit is truly a marvelous creature - has attracted my utmost interest more than two decades. Love you rabbit!
Today, while I drink coffee, I thought that what can be the most common source of agony in life. Probably I know very likely answer - ego unmatched with ability. Everybody have ego or self-esteem either strong or weak.
Among two cases, weak ego with high ability is kind of better. Although it still gives strong sense of insecurity and suffering, it naturally disappears as one's ability shines out in reality.
Strong ego with low ability is truly a tragedy. I see this case few times in recent years. This case likely destine to be doomed as it is very much self-destructive in many ways. This is truly the source of agony, but cannot be resolved. It is lamentable that this is more common in higher educations than any other areas. Seeing this kind of people gives me feeling of watching a fish walking toward a dessert.