Recalculating Route

Something incredible happened last week. The paper I had been working on, got accepted for a really huge conference in my area – Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS). And it has come at a time when I’m a little over a year into my PhD, so apparently it’s a big deal. The fact that it’s my first paper publication makes it an even bigger deal.

People are impressed with me and I didn’t think that was a possibility. But let me not elaborate on that. The last thing that I want to do in this post is to gloat.

“My first publication ever” had been a driving force. I was the underdog till now, and I didn’t expect anyone to expect anything out of me. I just had a set of unrealistic expectations from myself and it only mattered to me, and no one else, if I fulfilled them. But now that I have accomplished some of them, things seem different. Other people seem to have expectations from me. I feel disoriented. “What next?”. I need to find myself a new ambition now. Possibly bigger and better than my previous one. The one I had built after a series of setbacks, some personal, some professional.

So while I need to build a new ambition, I feel anxious about what changes my previous success can lead to. What a classic introverted response… I hate having to deal with changes, even if they are positive.

Now, I’m sure a lot of people will just want to shake me up and ask me to shut up and stop whining about having achieved something significant. I should be happy, I should celebrate it. I know the drill.

I think I’m happy just fighting for my dream. There always needs to be a dream. So I think I’d like to form a new one. And with that, I need to recalculate my route.

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