My Journey Through Three Realms with Fun

Two weeks after enrollment, I’m in the realm called “Climbing up the stairs, I overlooked the endless distance” (from Poetic Remarks on the Human World), which can be explained as “confused and insecure“. The agenda is mainly freshman education, ranging from various special lectures (atmospheric studies, high-performance computing, ecology, etc.) to special statistics courses, as well as various sports activities and social occasions with Tsinghua characteristics. Everything is new, and encounters need a high level of energy exchange. I was exposed to different scientific fields, different technologies, different life plans and goals. With an expansion of vision, I get to understand my own shortcomings and greater possibilities. And this feeling can be vividly compared to: “If Columbus had discovered a new planet instead of a new continent, he might have been more frightened than delighted.” During this stage, I climbed up the stairs, I saw many roads, and I wondering what benchmark I should use to choose the destination.

Classes began in late September. This realm is called “Passion to love long lives, even if body fades” (from Poetic Remarks on the Human World), which can be simply described as “painful but joyful“. Courses are like meals from different cuisines. Some focus on cutting-edge hot topic issues, which are very convenient for association and analogy, and can incorporate “fashionable” data processing methods, experimental design and fancy topics into a system within a short time. Others look at problems from different angles, such as Ecological Hydrology by Dawen Yang. It deals with ecological problems from an engineering perspective and is very helpful for comparative analysis. While some courses focus on scientific methods, others are more technical and practical, such as Ecological Data Analysis. The courses in different fields generated many specific thoughts, which helped me gradually step out from the first realm and into the second. Besides, it enabled me to think about my research regarding stem respiration from a new perspective. At this stage, I understand more clearly what I’m interested in, what aspects are lacking, and those that are commendable.

Every day, new ideas and thoughts come to mind. This continuous supply of thoughts fills me with energy. Like youthful cattle who have never plowed the ground, I feel full of vigour, even thinking of outperforming a harvester. For two weeks, I was in high spirits. I spent most of my time studying or thinking about problems, fancying building Rome in a day. However, before long, I wasn’t happy as I suddenly felt very tired and stressed during an ordinary afternoon. Only then did I realize that this state was unsustainable, and I had overextended myself.

At the beginning of October, I’m trying to reach the third realm, “I see her just there where the lights are dim” (from Poetic Remarks on the Human World). In fact, I haven’t found that “person” yet, but I know I will discover such a “person”. This “person” refers to the rhythm of scientific research or life.After chatting with many friends, I found that people older than me possess a characteristic, in which they have their own values while maintaining their own pace of life. In the undergraduate and senior high school stages, the periodicity of achievement is relatively short; a small exam, a big assignment, and an activity can quickly get affirmation or negation. We all “walk” peacefully within a defined framework with a fixed timetable and an unmistakable judgment of right and wrong. When people are like fish in water, it makes it difficult to think about the rational of a problem, and even more difficult to think about what they really want. As of October, I have tried to gradually explore and cultivate my own rhythm, hoping to make my life more sustainable. For example, separating work and life, lowering my expectations, keeping a record of daily working hours, and intentionally increasing physical exercise and socialization.

After all, these three states of mind are just one month into my doctoral studies, and the future can still be anticipated.


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