I went into a suicide mission today.
That suicide mission was…seeing my supervisor.
Much has been said about him. Some described him as complicated. Some said he is strict. Others thought of him to be funny. One of my friends said he is “immature”.
For me, he is the combination of all of that.
One of his red-flagged comments to my proposal was that he will kill me. This was because I made a very stupid technical mistake. I accidentally mistook something for something else, and for that reason alone, for him I deserved to be executed.
Another of his colourful comments was that I was like a disk-jockey…spinning words here and there just to describe the same thing. When Giha read that comment, she just couldn’t stop herself from laughing.
She and Nithya burst into another laughter when they read another of his brief comment that I “like to slap my own face” with my contradicting elaboration.
I didn’t contradict myself, it was just a case of interpretation. Your mind sees only what you want to see. Your perception and mind-set guide your interpretation of the world. Maybe I see things differently.
But scientific thinking now endorses us to conform to popular notion. It doesn’t encourage outliers. Deviation from popular thinking or fact would be whipped to maintain order.
Just a simple example, up until today, most of us thinks that physics dictates an object cannot be in two places at the same time. Is it?
Actually, it is the opposite. In quantum physics, at any given time, an object couldn’t be at the same place. Nothing has definite position. Or in simpler word, nothing can be in the same place at the same time. This is called Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.
Back to my proposal, together with my supervisor, we rigorously inspected my proposal words by words. Every sentences were scrutinized for mistakes. He felt that my writing was “too beautiful” for a scientific writing. I was like a novelist, with a plethora of flowery words accompanying my every sentences.
Yes…scientific writing shouldn't be beautiful. It shouldn't be readable. It should be ugly…the more unreadable and understandable the better. Is this the case?
The explanation was that scientific writing is more slanted towards precision. Sharp and direct to the point are the order. All the beautiful phrases are for the arts stream. While I was not fully in agreement with this line of argument, I think I need to abide by this, for the time being.
When the clock was approaching 5 p.m…I asked for the meeting to be postponed, because I needed to adhere to my practice session. This was when he went into a rage…he bluntly stated that squash doesn't have any bearing on my future. He accused me of putting more emphasis on squash over academics.
I was not emphasizing squash over academics, it never was. It was just that I was very tired mentally and needed a rest. I didn't think I could give full attention anymore. I couldn't continue any longer...I had reached my limit. It is always better to have something of everything than everything of nothing, no?
But he insisted that we finished everything today. We scrolled to the end of my proposal and tightened up all the loose screws. By the time it ended, I was thoroughly exhausted, mentally and physically.
All in all, it was not so bad…because I came out of his office alive. But he did tear me apart emotionally. Some of his words pierced right through my heart. But I took all that as a challenge…I think he just wanted to extract the best out of me.
I will rise to the challenge, hopefully.