The Dissertation

15 Nov

It is safe to say that the biggest challenge in my life recently has been the MPhil programme. More specifically: the writing part of it. Assignments were okay, term papers were hard and the dissertation process has been the, uh, cherry on the cake.

Clearly, as the size of the required written and thought output grew, so did my temptation to run away. It also happens to be that the further we progressed along the programme, the more the requirement grew for writing that needed to be presented or defended. It is so much easier-agonising, but still easier- to open a book on utilitarian decision making and write an assignment on that when you know all that you will get at the end of it is a grade.

Confronting the fear of a writing deadline needs a lot of courage. It is unhealthy if the fear of being judged and found wanting keeps me from putting in my best effort. Beyond a point, it is absurd to believe that I have lost the ability to do what I have successfully done for a fair few years of my life-write! Ergo I must conclude that it is this amorphous mass of fear, self-doubt and more self doubt that stalls my pen and swells at the slightest indication of indulgence.

It is therefore time to pull up my bootstraps and address this most pressing challenge differently. I’ve got to develop tunnel vision: my goal is getting the dissertation into shape by May, and more immediately, the first presentation in place by mid-December. If along the way I need to drop my guilt about not presenting papers at seminars and conferences and not doing non-school work, so be it. You can write seminar papers when you are not dealing with the kind of mental issues that I am right now. And dealing with them I am. Because

“Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,

And yet in love he sought me”

-from God Alone

What a blessing this has been to me!


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