Today I’m closing a very important chapter in my life. I defended my PhD dissertation and became part of the community. Before my presentation the only thoughts I had in mind were about my research and how I may answer committee’s questions in best possible way. However, once they signed my PASS form I had a totally different thoughts and contradicting feelings.

My presentation went very good. I was happy with it and my advisors were happy also. What really touched me is the good presence of other graduate students, mainly PhD students, interested in my research topic and would like to build on my findings. I felt then the value of contributing to the scientific body and being part of the stack adding to man knowledge. I had some long discussions with my colleagues about the future work and the possibility of working together sometime soon when we cross paths again. I felt sorry for my advisors because they used to hear the same ideas, problems, solutions, and results during our weekly research meetings 🙂 However, it is fun when you talk about your three years of research. This is the point where you have all your confidence. You know that you are one who knows best about this area. Although it does not immune you from being asked questions that are very difficult to answer. The nature of being very focused in the PhD research can make you easily get dragged in the details and forget about other critical areas or aspects of your research. This where you can be hit during your defense.

Once I got the PASS form signed from my committee. I felt reluctant delivering this form to the graduate school because this means my official graduation from UCONN. Although I had hard time adopting to campus life again beginning of my PhD, but these year were the best in my life after my undergraduate studies. I learnt a lot and met smart and interesting persons. I worked in creative environment with minds focused on finding creative solutions for critical problems and shaping the future of computing. Although I was working hard in my research to finish and graduate as soon as possible, but at that day I didn’t want to leave! It felt as moving from a small bowl to the huge deep blue ocean. The challenges are as many as opportunities and as hard as the big the rewards might be.

However, I also had the feeling of getting my freedom back. Now I may have many options in my career. Although these days it is very difficult to find a job, but on the long run I can create more options for myself.  I can resume working on my search engine algorithm and system. I can fund it with the few extra dollars I may have 🙂 I can collaborate with more people in areas different from my PhD’s main research topic.

I think I should be very careful and keep my advisors’ voices and recommendations in front of me. This should to keep me away from slowing down and missing the opportunities of solving challenging problems. Thanks to all of them. I feel lucky having the opportunity working with all of them; thanks professors Reda, Raj, Swapna, and Ian.

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