The hard road
Is doing something an easier way necessarily worse than doing it a hard way? I mean with a lot of things in life you get out what you put in. If you work hard enough you could be an olympic athlete, a world class musician, dancer, artist. But even in those cases, is it hard work, or consistant work that makes the difference? I’m not sure one way or the other, but I’ve typically opted for the hard way. It’s lead to mixed results, but typically I don’t mind putting in the extra effort if it means that I will have a good outcome.
I was thinking about this today when hospital-PI and I were discussing the dataset we’ve collected over the past two weeks. I’m excited about looking at it to see what we’ve got. I’m also excited to double check and make sure the equipment is working the way it should, but mostly I’m excited about the challenge that is ahead. Because I want to do something really unique with this project.
I’ve found that I really enjoy making unique visuals for the stuff I do. I think having a good graph or just good graphic really helps explain what is going on more than the text itself. Not that the text doesn’t add anything mind you, but they say a picture is worth a thousand words and I tend to agree. So I’ve progressively tried to push myself to create new and unique figures for different projects that I’ve been working on and over the years I think I’ve made some pretty good progression.
I wouldn’t say they are as good as they can be, because there’s always room for improvement. But considering where I started, I’m happy with how I am doing. Which is why I got to wondering about why I keep pushing and doing things the difficult way. It’s been a theme really like my scicomm video, which was both goofy, but informative. I’ve gotten compliments on how it came out, but it’s a matter of effort vs. return on effort. I just feel like I’m not seeing much return I guess?
Hospital-PI made a mistake that had me really confused, but then I realized what had happened. He suggested that my publications are diverse, which is a good thing (this I agree was about me), but he then went on to say that I had more citations than some of my colleagues, and I was very confused because despite all the work, my citations per paper is horrid. Like low double digits where others that he was comparing me to had low to mid triple digits. The problem was (I think) he confused my citation count with my labmates, which I’m not going to lie felt good for about 30 seconds until I realized he had made a mistake.
Maybe I’m just feeling sorry for myself, but it is a little frustrating to put all this effort in, without getting any sort of recognition back. Sometimes I wonder if all the extra work I put into this stuff is really translating to anything important. If no one sees a work of art, does it still have value?
Frankly, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. Hopefully things will turn around, or maybe it’s just luck of the draw and nothing personal. I don’t know, but it does feel a little less than stellar to see my papers just sit there, not doing much. Maybe it’s just PTSD from robot paper, but it’s not the best feeling.
Yeah, probably just feeling sorry for myself. I mean I’m still a grad student, I’m sure I can’t be the only one who has this problem or doubts. In any case, a regular reminder to myself to just keep going, which sometimes is all any of us can do.