Doubts and Confidence
If there was a list for endangered blogs, this one would be on it for sure. It’s getting harder and harder for me to find some spare time to type a few words, but I’ll try to keep it up and post a little piece about my current life.
So I made it into the PhD course at Handai and survived the enrollment procedures, orientation and guidance etc. Everything’s going well. My prof accepted my research proposal. I registered courses (only two though, because I’m also participating in two reading/study groups) and was asked to help with two research projects.
But at the same time, it began to dawn on me that if I’m supposed to finish my PhD after three years, I would start to write my dissertation after two years at the latest. Which would also mean that I have to write my preparatory thesis even earlier, which means: I… don’t… really… have… time……………….
If I was going to write the thesis in the subject I’m most familiar with (Japanology), it would be doable. But I had the great and clever idea to study Clinical Philosophy here, while my philosophic knowledge is very rudimental (what kind of drugs did I take when I made that decision???).
Well, I’ve studied Japanology as a major and Philosophy and European Ethnology as minor subjects, so my idea was to combine all these subjects with my current research. So far, that sounds like a good idea and I believe that studying Clinical Philosophy in Japan is just perfect for that. But the more I dive into Clinical Philosophy I feel that it becomes an ever thicker wall between me and my research. Since I’m enrolled in this subject I need to ask myself constantly whether what I’m trying to do fits into Clinical Philosophy or not. But what the heck is Clinical Philosophy? As I’ve already said here, that’s a question nobody seems to be able to answer…
So at the moment everything feels like a mess while I need to catch up on too many things. First of all, Philosophy of course. But the real challenge is Public Health with which I’m concerned and which is connected to so many other fields that every time I get a hint for my reasearch and think that I should do a little investigation on that it opens a Pandora’s box. And this is where I return to the first problem: Three years is a hell of a short time! How am I going to finish all this in only three years?
One course I registered turned out to be a kind of self-help group for desperate graduate students and there I learned that the Japanese students have the same doubts as me which felt very relieving. At least I’m not alone. When it popped out of me that I wasn’t sure whether to enter the PhD course was a good idea I was laughed at and felt a bit embarrassed. It’s a very common expression in German to say that you’re “not sure whether something was a good idea”, but I figure that my words sounded stronger in Japanese.
Anyways, although I have some doubts about this PhD project I know that I would have regretted it forever if I didn’t even try. And I need challenges. I never go the easy way (though I’m not so sure whether that’s a good thing ;-p ). That’s what I’m confident in.