First things first…

I’ve heard tell on the blogosphere that writing the first post is always the hardest. They’re not wrong at all. I’ve started and restarted this post so many times that I’ve lost count. I’ve held my finger over the ‘backspace’ key, my head hitting the desk with an exasperated ‘thunk’, my confidence in my writing ability disappearing…

But then I thought, “Seriously, how hard can it be?” To borrow a phrase, all I needed to do was shut up and write.

And so I am.

This is me… writing.

I remember ages ago, my housemate showed me a picture she’d found on the internet. It was a quote about Facebook and our perceptions of people:

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel”.

Now I’ll be honest – I have no idea where that comes from, or even if that’s the right quote, but I think regardless of that, there’s a lot of truth to the statement. I’ve had a number of conversations recently along these lines with people who I thought were going fine; better than fine. People who I looked at and thought “Wow! Look at all of that super-awesome-science they’re doing!” I would look at them, look at my work and come to the conclusion that I wasn’t doing enough. In comparison to their Einstein-like aura of productivity, I was the monkey with a typewriter, hoping for Shakespeare.

I was sitting with a bunch of my friends from the Chemistry department a few days ago when one of the Academics at our university walked past. The conversation moved towards this direction and my friend Nicole asked, “Are you ever supposed to feel like you’re doing enough?” This is a woman who got first class honours,was offered her pick of projects at a number of different, high quality universities, and who has been lecturing as a 2nd year PhD student! The Academic just grinned and said, “Hah! No. You constantly feel like that until you hand it in. And even then…”

And so, I’ve called my blog “The Confusion Matrix”. I am becoming increasingly of the opinion that no one “has it all together” and anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something. (+10 points for the nerdy Princess Bride reference?) I hope this blog becomes an avenue for me to share my limited experience with life in general and with my PhD specifically. I’ll be writing about my research, conferences I go to, things I discover through talking with friends, opinions, embarrassing stories (of which there are many… trust me) and just anything that I’d like to think might be helpful or entertaining.

Perhaps one day I’ll be able to take the “Confusion” out of the title, but somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon.

 

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