We all love to claim academics is a solitary pursuit, Ph.D is something you do only for yourself. While that is absolutely true, its the small and not so small things along the way which helps one move along. It is kind of like that snake and ladder game, one lucky break here, a mini disaster there and always that little something away from being "done". I have seen incredibly motivated people losing it all, quitting in frustration or living a miserable existence. On the other hand there are people who enjoy each and every moment of their research career, doing what they love and loving what they do. And then there are people who just treat it like just another job and keep on surviving.
Which category I belong to? I don't think I can answer that question unbiasedly, but I would feel I oscillate between all three phases randomly. However I am fortunate to have a wonderful advisor, have settled down pretty well in this place over the years and mostly like my work. And add to all that, so far the biggest support in my workplace was my senior student. Anytime I got stuck or was looking for ideas, help was just across the room. He had solution for every problem, answer for every question, fix for every error and a "script" for getting every job done. And most importantly, he always had time to answer my stupid and not so stupid questions.
Once he suggested me to get rid of the Windows in my laptop and get Linux instead. I knew, like all of his advices, this one made sense too. However, I tried to point out to him that I use my laptop for non-Physics activities too, namely chatting or music or movie. His answer was prompt. I do not do either, he said.
So I am sure he would not read this, but here is congratulating him for graduating today. People said his was one of the better defences they have seen in a while.
All the best Craig. And thanks for getting me started.