Thursday, 22 September 2016

PhD student has to write blog posts regularly, here you go.

"PhD is a career like running your own business". I swung by an event for new incoming students to UChicago and herd such a sentence. I set my heart on learning a couple more things from my fellow students on how I should live my PhD life. I read a couple of pages in a book on how to write academic papers and one advice was that you should call your supervisor: advisor. It was repeated in the talk. It seems to me that in this matter the nomenclature is really of importance. It's not only your advisor who can teach you new aspects but also other students around you, of course. The only requirement is that the other people should be interested in a similar topic like you. The database group at UChicago is growing rapidly and we hope that our new chair will be willing to help with this endeavor. It would be too cumbersome to create a story from the thoughts that I heard today so let me just enumerate them and comment a little bit on each of them.

  1. You get what people think you should get. This is very true. We have to master the skill of communication, especially about what we work on, what is our research about and what is in for you. Giving a talk is always a challenge for me, but I love it. I'm always thrilled and sometimes even a little bit nervous, however, once I am there on the stage, know that my material is well-prepared and start communicating with the audience, then there is no better time in my life, seriously.
  2. Don't do something off truck. So, communicate with your advisor frequently and make sure that you both agree on the next steps. I don't want to make my advisor being frustrated, sure thing. This is more about how you want to run your business, what your vision is for an excellent new approach/technique/method/algorithm/theory/experiments. Just make sure that your supervisor agreed with you and remember to calibrate your research trajectory.
  3. Spend some time improving yourself. I know that I must work more on math & English. This is math that helps me to keep sane in this unstructured world of words/thoughts/opinions and get on the right truck with my own thinking. At the same time, you mush speak/read/write in English and do it perfectly, otherwise you loose a lot being in the US or other English speaking countries.
  4. Write a technical blog. I'll write more technical stuff, I promise. It'll be on compression, Spark, parquet (and other data formats), data migration, some other databases (MonetDB), and I will comment on some papers.
  5. This blog has to be keyword search-able, I'm glad it is.
  6. Revise your blog posts from time to time.
  7. Endurance and self-motivation.
  8. Take ownership of your life and your research.
  9. Manage yourself as you were a superstar.
  10. Act thoughtfully.
  11. Act intelligently.
  12. Act as a leader.
Let it be all for now.