False Peaks


I spend my Friday nights writing abstracts and figuring out my path in a crazy amount of research. How ’bout chu?

A thought occurs, even more so after a meeting with my supervisor and a very friendly professor who kindly gave me an hour of his time to help me out with my Ph.D. “Wonderful,” I thought. “No more chopping blindly in the goop” à la Zoidberg. (Yep. That’s why I used that header photo. Hooray for tenuous links!)

Let it be clear, if it wasn’t abundantly so already, that I am under NO delusion that I’m very much at the start of my research career. There’s a lot that I’ve learned in a short space of time, but compared to the amount left to learn before I can even contemplate writing a half-decent thesis is… well, too much to think of on a Friday night.

Nevertheless, I’ve recently been getting on well with the research. Things are starting to fall into place, theory is making and more sense AND I am beginning to see how I can draw multiple branches of sign linguistics (and linguistics in general) together critically. With all this optimism, it feels like I’m really making progress, and while the end is far beyond my grasp, the path seems clear. The clouds circling the Ph.D peak begin to clear!

…and then someone suggests that, maybe, the big idea is too simplistic. Or misguided. Or maybe it needs to be approached from perspective Y instead of perspective X. Or all of the above*.

By no means am I trying to disregard the advice I’ve been given: it’s extremely useful to be guided by those who are much more in the know, and I will always, always accept advice from those who I respect… but it still reminds you that, as smooth as things seem to be going, there’s still a long way to go.

So as you’re looking up to that peak as the clouds clear, you notice that, actually, you’ve got much further to go than you’d care to admit. Another higher peak has appeared, thus I’m calling this the False Peaks effect, based on the phenomenon that climbers can experience. Perhaps it has been coined elsewhere, but a cursory Google search didn’t provide anything.

Either way, I should probably stop typing here and continue typing up that abstract.



*These are examples of things I’ve heard from others, and not necessarily from my own experience.


One thought on “False Peaks

  1. the grad muse

    Fortunately, I have spent a lot of time hiking at elevation, so I’m used to this feeling. Nice term, “false peaks.”

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