何毓琦的个人博客分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/何毓琦 哈佛(1961-2001) 清华(2001-date)

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Youthful confusion, and loss of faith and incentives. 精选

已有 9929 次阅读 2010-9-22 23:07 |系统分类:海外观察

For new readers and those who request to be “好友 good friends” please read my 公告first.

One recent question to my blog article goes as follows:何老师:
您好,我是xx大学环境系的大三本科生。大一时我就决心出国,于是一直很关心美国的新闻和文化,您的文章给予了我极大帮助,谢谢您和我分享您多年的阅历和宝贵的智慧。
我最近感到迷茫烦躁,原因如下:大一时我学习劲头很足,积极进入实验室,接触科研,去听系里面美国教授的讲座,虽然听不懂。但我现在的状态是,我所有时间都给了GRE,对科研有热情但没法着手去做,觉得自己是想发paper出国,才接触科研。缺乏对科研真正的兴趣,我老是拖沓不想完成计划任务,现在也不好意思去见导师了,因为没完成培养计划。我就是觉得迷茫,为什么有的人就有热情和好奇心,我就没有呢?
如何来判断我是否适合从事科研,即怎么看清自己呢?敬请您指教,感谢您的解惑。谢谢!
This is very typical of questions I receive from students in China since I return yearly for the past two decades. In fact, I myself have occasionally experienced such moods during my lifetime. I promised the student that I’ll write a longer blog article to answer him/her. Here is my answer below.
1. First, you are far from unique and don’t think you are the only one with such problem and mood. Self doubt is common among young people.
2. In fact you might say that it is good that you have these feelings. Because this means you are “self aware” which is often the first step towards growth and improvement.
3. But you should not dwell on these feelings and wallow in self pity.   You need to get up and do something (the American joke is that while you can be on the right track but you will sooner or later be run over by a train if you just sit there). For one thing, I have written in the past about my own “five year plan”. It is one piece of advice I have given many youth in the past. You should have the incentive to search for this article and read it (I could give you the URL address but that will make things too easy for you).
4. You should seek advice from people who know you. For example, a diligent advisor, your parents, and your best friend. Remember,  “No man is an island.” And 三人同行必有我师. Good advice can come from anywhere..
5. Research is hard.  There is no magic pill for success. Long periods of getting nowhere, frustration, and doubt are balanced and cleansed by one eureka moment.   I had only four major ideas in my life and feel very satisfied and luckier than most.  
6. Be adventurous. It is better to have loved and lost than never loved at all.  No one can guarantee your success in life. But remember it is the process not the final result that is the rewarding part.
7. I always say it is best to endure and accept “NOs” while you are young. You can learn from mistakes and they are not so costly relatively speaking.
8. Your greatest asset is TIME. How old person like me envy your youth.
9. Finally there is this rather well known legend. An earnest young man wants to know the meaning of life and to attain success in life. He searched far and wide and was told that a wise guru living alone on a high peak in the Himalaya mountains can give him the answer. Thus he started on this trek. After many days of dangerous and exhausting climb during which he suffered incredible hardships and nearly died, he finally arrived at the door of this guru. He barely had the strength left to ask the important question. The guru answered, “This too shall pass” and shut the door in his face.
 
Good luck and enjoy your journey of life!


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