It’s been awhile
Life has (mostly) gone on.
I had another extreme depressive episode and decided to give up my phd attempt.
I came back to Asia.
Was in Cambodia for a bit.
And am slowly adjusting to life back in Singapore. Back in a marine research lab. Doggedly pursuing academia despite the lack of qualifications. I love it too much. It’s in my blood. I seem to have washed up in a nice lab. But haven’t figured out who here to talk nerdy science for the sake of science with yet. Like last week’s Science research article about genomic recoding which totally got eclipsed by the damn human skull on the popular press. Actually I quite like life without the qualifications. Being an underling is a lot less complicated than the political and administrative morass of being a PI. At least I get to do science. I get to do a LOT of science, actually. Some days I feel like a science data analysis/reading/writing machine.
Some days I resent having to give up my phd. I put my nose to the grindstone for the last 4 years on a grad student salary. I also am dealing with a bit of guilt, for letting assorted people who took a chance on me down, most notably my advisor who was and continues to be a delightful human being.
It wasn’t just the depression of course. My thesis was also extremely unfocussed, consisting of random collections of data after 4 years, none of it anywhere near ready for publication. While I did get a lot out of it, both professionally and personally, I don’t have the most important thing to show for it—that most important title after my name. Which means I get paid a pittance, compared to what I can really do with my training. Not that I’m in this field for the money, of course.
I have to say the reverse culture shock has been quite the monster.
I still don’t know how to explain why I gave up my phd to old acquaintances, so for the most part I’ve been avoiding them. The thing I fucking hate about depression is how it disrupts my already pathetic attempts to make friends as a socially inept scientist. Consistency and reliability? Hah!
Heck, I don’t know how to explain why I left to the lovely progressive people I left in CA. People I actually got along with philosophically and who actually cared about me as an individual.
This place is a shithole. I am not allowed to get a government flat until I’m 35, purely because I’m not married, and I can’t afford a 300sqft private box at $800k a pop. Let’s not even start to talk about gay rights. Wtf does no one see a problem with this?
My family is needy. There is no emotional maturity to be found here. Nor a shoulder to cry on. Just endless demands for my attention. While I would rather show them how to fish than give them a fish they would rather not listen. I have to re-learn how to say no.
I seem to have come out on even keel at the moment. Who knows how long it’ll last. This fills me with trepidation. Looks like I still need schooling in changing my viewpoint and living day to day. I hope professional help isn’t as hard to set up here as it is in the land where Obamacare is still being debated. But I am also beset with worries about revealing any of this in a place without fucking nondiscrimination protections.