Tomorrow is my first day at Washington University in St. Louis, where I will be working towards a PhD in Computer Science! While I spend the next 4-6 years of my life here, I’ve decided to make a commitment: I will write at least one blog post every week until I finish my PhD.
I will write at least one blog post every week until I finish my PhD.
There are a few main reasons why I want to do this blog. The first reason is I want to get better at writing. One of the most important parts of a PhD is writing, and there is a lot to write :). Throughout the PhD, I need to be publishing papers at top-tier conferences and journals. At the beginning, I will mostly work on existing projects I’m assigned to, but once I gain experience, I’ll have to take more initiative on doing research, which requires more writing. Things like the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, a dissertation proposal, and any other grants that my advisor wants me to complete. Finally, I’ll need to compile all of my research into a fully-fledged dissertation and get it approved by my committee so I can actually graduate with a PhD. By writing more often, I’m hoping to hone my skills as a writer so that I’ll find it a lot easier when it comes to actually writing the important things.
The second reason I want to write a blog is to keep myself honest about my progress in school. I imagine that most of my posts will be related to something that I’ve done that week, which will let me self-evaluate on a regular interval. If I’m not progressing as fast as I would like, I should be able to turn it around quickly rather than sliding further and further behind. Actually, I’ve been wanting to write a consistent blog for a long time now, and it’s the reason I created this website. When I got rejected from all the schools that I applied to the first time around, Lana, my undergrad research advisor, recommended I start a blog to practice writing and read more research papers. However, aside from a few scattered posts here and there, I didn’t really write anything. It wasn’t for a lack of having things to talk about, I just never sat down and wrote. Of course, it’s very possible that the same thing happens again, and this weekly PhD blog never gets going, but hopefully by committing to this publicly, it’ll give me more motivation to follow through and write.
The last reason I’m writing this blog is when I finally finish my PhD, I’ll be able to look back on everything and appreciate how much I’ve actually done and how much I’ve improved. I’m fully expecting that several years in the future, a lot of these posts will look cringy or really badly written or whatever, but that’s all part of the process :).
So, what exactly will I be writing about? In general, I’ll try to write about topics related to what I’ve done or learned that week. However, if I don’t have something specific from that week, I might just write about any random topic that I’m interested in. I’ve got a backlog of topics I want to write about, so I’m not too worried about a lack of things to write about :). I’ll try to commit to writing at least 200 words a week, which seems pretty doable as a minimum cutoff.
This is all I have for now, see everybody next week when school starts!
Hi future Saumik!