i've never felt so unpressured in my life
Post created: 2020-11-09
The general state of the world seems to be improving a little nowadays.
On a personal level, I notice that I've started to unwind significantly. I think it is a mix of the following factors:
- Graduating affords peace of mind from credentialism.
- General finances have settled, and now I'm essentially planning for only myself. I'm slowly picking up hobbies and stuff that I've wanted to do for the past ten years.
- With the rise of remote work and the general movement to fund OSS, I see possible ways of earning a living that do not involve shady things.
- Collectively, the above points have allowed me to effectively drop the grind mentality. It was never really a conscious choice, but there was a de facto moratorium on music, games, side projects, and such -- it wasn't possible to enjoy myself without thinking "look you have one shot at life, no retries, don't waste it".
- The lack of courses (and lack of things on fire), along with the occasional melatonin, has driven up my average hours of sleep significantly. Starting sophomore year and deteriorating since, I think I was averaging 5 hours on good days and 3 hours on bad days, plus whatever microsleep I was getting in class. I get a steady 8-10 hours of sleep now.
- Starting to feel settled in to PhD life.
I think the process of unwinding has allowed me to understand some perspectives that I've never been able to appreciate before. A little more patient nowadays. Though back when I got enough sleep, I used to have an overactive imagination that ran wild in my dreams. Apparently, I still do -- well, nostalgia and yearnings for lives unlived.
The general absence of pressure (and probably Andy's influence) has also added color to the milquetoast life that I've intentionally maintained so far. We're often advised to keep our options open, and I would continue to advise others to do the same -- I think it helps more than it harms. But sometimes, keeping your options open means keeping a blank and pristine canvas, completely untainted by controversy or opinion, becoming a safe and bland choice. I'm more comfortable taking a public stand on issues now.
bake everything! cook everything!
Spreading the word of kek batik. Wish COVID wasn't a thing so that I could share it on campus. Wondering what other desserts make for good gifts.
I'm pretty grateful for the (possibly still government revocable) chance to pursue the PhD. True, I think academia in the US and wherever else is chasing h-indexes nowadays is trended towards a silly place, and there's a lot of noise in research papers published after the turn of the century. But academia in general is trying to be more inclusive, supportive, and welcoming, which is nice, and staying in academia is a certain blend of being part of that while having freedom of your own to dive into esoteric topics.