When embarking on a new journey or challenge you must first envision what is your goal. Although you might not know how to get there, you should feel confident that your desire will propel you to get there. I am sure everybody has the heard the saying ‘When you think you have reached the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on’ but I am here to tell you sometimes one knot might not be enough, so tie a double knot!
As a kid I remember visiting the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ where they had an exhibit called the ‘Touch Tunnel’. The premise of the Touch Tunnel is that when you enter the tunnel the use of your eyes for navigation are quickly striped away and you are left to use touch as the primary sense to get to the end. I still remember hearing other kids, including myself, panic. This was the case when I could not hear if anyone around. I felt alone and it was dark with no end literally in sight! What allowed me to get through the tunnel was the belief that I was intended to reach the end. Heck, before you enter the tunnel one can see kids exiting for the end.
Entering graduate school is no different than entering the Touch Tunnel in the sense that as soon as you start your schooling the journey in figuring out how to graduate begins. You meet students who have just graduated and senior students nearing their defense but everybody encounters a rough patch. Everyone will encounter a moment where they feel alone with no end or beginning in sight and your commitment will be tested. What will get you through this time is your own belief that one day you too will graduate.
So tie yourself a double-knot and hang on. You will pull yourself though and figure out how to reach the end. Just like those kids pushing through the Touch Tunnel, you need to treat this challenge no differently. Just believe in yourself.
Dr. Blog holds a PhD in chemistry and draws on his years of industrial and life experience to offer honest career advice for the advancement of young scientists