February 27, 2007 § Leave a comment
We had to do a massive amount of work for our research proposal today. We started the day a bit late, at 10am, then finish up things for review around 12.30pm. We met our tutor at 2pm and had to finalize our work before 5pm. It was a race up until the last second. And I must say that again I find my talent (or rather, my responsiveness to stimulants such as coffee and tea) to stay stable and focused and productive in critical hours. It was injury time by the last minutes before 5pm and I was just glad that we managed to finish it and meet pretty much all the “demands” of our tutor. As I was having a discussion about our proposal with a friend in my group, I suddenly came to a realization. Hey, this is it! It was the exact moment when I was actually having a serious academic activity in the Netherlands. The exact moment when I was so absorbed in a work that I hadn’t really thought about anything else other than figuring out whether this sentence I made (“Logistic regression models are used to investigate the correlation of the different variables with the hepcidin levels”) were good and succinct enough to be put in the proposal. I was just a student, doing my study assignment. The fact was, at that same moment I was a foreign student, I was not speaking my mother tongue for weeks already, having no relatives within the radius of 12.000km, living alone in a small room, and use my allowances for food, drinks, or travel. And yet, I hadn’t thought about all that. I hadn’t thought about my country, I hadn’t thought about missing home, friends, or family. I was just there. Wise people say it’s those moments that you look for, the moments when everything is crystal clear and you can actually cherish things for what they are, not for what they’re supposed to be. And this mindfulness, appreciation of moments, is something you should train yourself to do. It’s not instant achievements, it’s activity that may eventually become a habit. And I love the people in my group. With some very rare exceptions, we work well together. It’s just great to work with the people you like, or like the people you work with. And that is a privilege.