Thank You for the Finals

Thank you for the finals. Thank you for the finals. Thank you for the finals.

Maybe if I write it enough, I will mean it.

It is the middle of final exams and papers season here at Princeton. Life has turned into such a constant cycle of studying, writing, eating, lab, and sleeping that my roommate and I have both forgotten what day it is multiple times this week. This is my tenth post-high school finals season, and I am pretty tired, but I’m also pretty grateful.

Last semester, before we all joined labs, one of our professors told us we were “professional students.” It is kind of odd to think about it, but he was right. Princeton believed in us all enough to support us while we gain knowledge in the hopes that, when we transition from classes to research, we begin to produce it. This first year of grad school, I have been able to put a pause on life and study and begin to further develop myself as a researcher.

I have had the opportunity to go to lectures every week. Yes, every fluids pset took many hours and many scrap pieces of paper, but I was able to listen to someone who has spent his career applying the principles of fluid dynamics to interesting problems ranging from cellular flow to surfactants. In another class, I was able to dissect a porcine heart and lung. I am able to go to seminars and listen to people who are experts in their fields talk about their most recent research. I have so many opportunities to learn and I have been given the time to do so. (Not to mention the fact that when I can connect something in a lecture or seminar to my research or it gives me an idea for a direction my research could go in, it is the coolest feeling in the world.)

This post is short because I need to go work. I need to go work not because of what anyone is expecting of me necessarily, but because I expect myself to make the most out of these opportunities. I have been very much looking forward to finishing up classes so that I can devote myself more fully to my research, but I think I need to take a moment and appreciate all I have learned and how much I have grown this year. Okay, now off to go study.



1 comment / Add your comment below

  1. I think one of the coolest aspects of completing a PhD is that no only do you become an expert in the field, but also you are concretely contributing to the collective knowledge of humankind. Even if the project isn’t full of buzzwords like AI or machine learning or doesn’t have immediate relevance to applications today, it is still expanding our understanding of the world and has value. -Andi

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