What’s more fascinating than being a postgraduate research scholar at a renowned research institute for a young lady in her early twenties? Those white lab coats, gloves, goggles, etc., just imagine a biotechnologist in her work attire, busy handling pipettes in a lab. Seems to be a dream-come-true moment for many, right? Sorry to interrupt your thoughts, but I beg to differ.
I’ve spent a couple of years in a research institute and I’m on the verge of submitting my thesis. But the dream of a ‘sweet, simple life’ seems to be a distant fantasy. A postgraduate scholar starts with some coursework in the first year. Nobody knows why the courses exist. Still, we have to go with the flow. We also need to prepare a research topic, objectives, work plan etc., for the upcoming year.
Then finally your research gets started after the approval of the expert committee. And later in the middle of research work, I realise that I have actually lost my real life somewhere. But I don’t even want to go in search of it, because I’m in an institute where research is the most important thing—nothing else. There are some extracurricular activities too. We prepare research articles, attend conferences and workshops, etc. But I just have one doubt. In which dictionary are these things considered to be hobbies? In fact I think that my autobiography should be titled, “The story of a lonely researcher”.
According to me ‘research’ is the most horrible word in the world—more terrifying than a nuclear war. I consider thesis preparation as slow poisoning. I think I’ll step into heaven in no time. Jokes apart, even I have felt that I’m being childish, always complaining about work. I sometimes try to take a positive view of things. But suddenly many thoughts pop into my mind. The mind swings and the uncertainties are inevitable. But I must also consider innovative ideas, problem-solving tactics and most importantly the freedom to do whatever I want to. Everything seems like a mesmerising dream.
Coming to the heart of the issue, the most significant question is: Do I like my life at a research institute? I hate people who try to play it safe; so the answer is yes, I like it a lot. Uncertainties make you optimistic and emotional imbalance makes you more confident. Despite all the chaos, the time I spent in the research institute was mesmerising. Sometimes, I’ve even felt thrilled. Finally I realised: Stop chasing your dream and start living it in your own way.