Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fighting through boredom

Graduate school can often be frustrating, disruptive, and downright stressful. I probably did not need to state this since all graduate students are aware of this fact. I have been especially bored with my graduate studies lately and have been struggling to identify both the cause and a solution. Through talking with friends and lots of time thinking (especially during my recent vacation to the UK), I've slowly been able to reason out the cause.

Quite simply, I've forgotten my large-scale fascination with science. As an undergrad, I would marvel at every piece of popular physics literature I read, from discoveries at particle accelerators to the development of new nanotechnologies. In graduate school, I've become so mired in one specific area of research that I forgot that very cool things are happening all over the scientific world, such as the "bump" in the data seen at Fermilab.

Though not the only reason for my recent lull, it is a major one. And it points to a solution: take time out of my day to peruse the myriad of popular scientific articles and rekindle my interests. Though I may not be working on these famous projects, I find that I am much happier in the lab after having contemplated these things. They place my work within a greater context, and though I tend to be an individualist, I think that I at least need to do this to find satisfaction with my own work.