I have completed almost 75% of my first year in the PhD program. Lots of thing to read, think, and write. This would continue till end of Dec 2008, before I take my qualifiers.
Looking at the last 1.5 semesters that I have taken, I must say that the coursework has been really challenging. Some have also been quite interesting and enriching. Thankfully, I think I have done relatively well in terms of the grades. What I realized is that the main "burden" is really on the research. What is the research question? What are the research motivation? What exactly am I trying to study? What has been done before? Why should I do it now? How should I approach it? Where to get the data? Seriously, these things just come naturally to my mind when my mind is not set on other things.
Anyway, I have spent the last week trying to do a preliminary analysis of some data that I have. And I'm a little disappointed and demoralize by the analysis... Before it turns into a "file-away" idea, I would try to see if there are other ways to work the data. I guess this is why it is call research - we just have to keeping search and searching again.
One challenge that I'm facing is having someone to talk and discuss my ideas with. While the profs are pretty brilliant, open and helpful, none of them are exactly doing what I'm intending to do... Sometimes it just seems like I'm isolated on an intellectual island...
Other than these, I'm surviving well for my 1st year. Thank God. -SDG-