Berkeley, Tuesday, September 25, 2018 2:14 PM
Fig. 1 is a more detailed version from a chart that I was instructed about what to expect during my academic journey in my program. I was instructed about it in a Fulbright orientation seminar ‘Pre-departure’, in Quito, Ecuador. I think the exact date was June 9, 2016. I cannot recall now the name of the hotel.
I have kept clearly that figure, so I wanted to talk about it in my blog, plus I also discussed that topic with Jian. After, a google search, I found Fig 1. at Kim, 2016 post. While, I am grateful with Kim for posting this figure, I need to let him know that I have not reading his/her post, so I am taking my free speech space here, and speaking my mind for few minutes.
Every action in life, for me, has the shape of that curve, beyond just learning activities. We start a life event motivated, spectant and exited. This is the first shook, as if an activity or a life event that we worked hard for getting in, rather than being there just because of other casualties, then normally comes the provisional adjustment, which is also a wonderful time called honeymoon. We start to get exposed to know the other person, or know better the topic on which we are working, and see the potential match and goals together on this.
As we advance, we get also more involvement, the time to prove ourselves comes. The initial excitement of everything being new is gone. Competition shows up. We are more challenged. It is a time to going deeper in details, in this path that we already have walked some steps. We rely on our talents, learnings, and our capacity to handle situations. We can compare other possible scenarios, as we discovered more options in the way. We also might be harsh with ourselves in mistakes, or willing to take faster steps. Uncertainty, hesitation starts about our own performance. All the excellent performance that we performed during the honeymoon is not the same anymore. Things might not be new, or new advances are not so noticeable. A period of lost of confidence come, followed by confusion in the way that we are walking, it causes subsequent depression, lack of confidence, which are called inner contradiction, which generates a crisis.
Crises are opportunities. Then, comes the time to test our endurance, and determination, to stick to goals under difficult conditions. The easy path there is to quit. The hard path is to acknowledge the crisis and to fight the battle. After acknowledging it, and being sincere with oneself, and with others, looking for solutions. Normally, we get help, or extra help in the next step, but nothing better that oneself being able to openly talk about the case, to find the right advices, and take the next right decisions and steps.
The new path starts (re)shaping, the commitment was tested and passed, motivation boosts, and we start taking more and more risks and challenges. Self-confidence, and I would say wisdom or experience have increased. We are not only able to move forward, but likely to carry others with us, with sometimes is just by example to looking at us to stand up again after have been struggling for a difficult time.
This is not one curve in life. It can be a completely sinusoidal curve, which describes most of our life events.
That curve describes quite accurly my PhD experience, while the time axis is different. After a fantastic first semester at Fall 2016, I continued taking challenges, perhaps I reached my honeymoon peak in mid February 2017, during the Spring Semester. Then, while still doing very good, some uncertainty came at Fall 2017. Confusion came by the end of the Fall, and crisis on February 5, 2018. Acceptance came since March, even better since July 2018. Currently, I am in an extra commitment, and fighting, I do not know if harder, but likely smarter, and with more confidence for my goals.
Many important things have happened in my life since August.
The described curve, does not only applies for academics, nor can be categorized in only long term experiences. It can happen during a semester, during a life, or during non-academic things, which also are learnings such as affective relationships, competitions, etc.
A person might feel comfortable after reaching the top of curve, which is quite similar to the electricity duck curve, so a person can be feeling comfortable after reaching the well deserved top of head of the duck curve. It is important to acknowledge that it is also dangerous to stay in a comfort zone.
Looking forward to the next challenges. Either if the distances between the head of the duck and the bottom of the neck are smaller or tough again. Making the curve sinusoidal is part of a life fulfilled with challenges and emotions.
I would say that endurance and commitment are talents that do not allow us to quit at the crisis, but unlikely experience will omit these lower critical point. Experience would help us to find out faster the best solutions. Many factors influence to reach those critical points, so not everything depends on us, but staying on track, taking these critical points as opportunities for success mainly depends on ourselves.
Kim, S. July 14, 2016. Complete Guide To Accelerate The Learning Curve: How Barack Obama Beats Decision Fatigue. [Blog post]. Retrieved on September 17, 2018 from www.rypeapp.com/blog/the-learning-curve/