Oh, how I miss blogging (and other news).

You have no idea how many times I typed and deleted the first sentence of this post. I haven’t been blogging for a while. But I can’t let it go. I can’t let go of blogging and I am not sure why. Mine is not the most important and popular blog anyway, so perhaps it’s just me. No one else would feel like they’re missing out on something if I didn’t continue to write this blog.

One thing for sure, I miss my friends in the blogosphere. It’s weird, I haven’t even met them. I’ve only known them through Writing 101 free online class, but I feel like I can easily communicate without any hesitation. Yet I have so many friends in real life whom become distant. It feels awkward to start communicating with them again. I suspect they might assume that I am selling some multilevel marketing products or having other hidden agenda. We’ve grown so much apart anyways. I am not sure I would understand the best gesture that I must perform in front of them and vice versa.

I remember back then, I’ve written in my diary about how weird it is to have some text messages, quotes from e-mail, friendster and facebook written as part of my day-to-day stories. I owned my first cellphone in 2004 and it’s quite late. Perhaps it is a sign that I am basically not an early adopter of new technologies and prefer to wait a bit until I feel like I really need it. Also, in general, I am never keen on being submissive into peer pressure that demands me to always be among the first customer of latest trend. Nope, I’m out.

It’s different with earlier technologies. I used to communicate through line phone, and sometimes I wrote part of the communication on phone in my day-to-day stories that I chronicled in diary. It never makes me feel weird. What makes it different was perhaps the fact that it still has a human dimension, a voice, unmistakably belong to a person. It makes me sure who am I speaking with. And it’s instant: you speak, I listen, I respond, I speak, you listen, you respond. There’s no gap, no delay, not even second-thoughts of erasing previous message, etc. But strangely, the same thing goes with longform written letters, though it could also be written by someone else, I’ve never met my penpals, it is not instant and there’s a gap time between sending the letter and receiving a reply. Where’s the human dimension? What makes me so sure to whom I am communicating with? There’s so many questions better left unanswered.

In a way, I see my blogging friends like my penpals in the past. I need to blurt something out and my preferred way of communicating is blogging. Maybe I am a blogger at heart, who knows?

What I am about to tell you is, I’ve got an awesome news. I got a 5-years PhD scholarship from NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) to study at Wageningen University. I am thinking of documenting my process in becoming an independent researcher. My philosophy is not to find the answer but to learn how to find the answer. And the blog would not only be about my research project. You see, the way I perceive other people is I stretched their particles into a wide spectrum and then I reconnect their image as whole. I also feel the same way about myself, I mean, there’s so many dimensions that makes a researcher. In my case, I am not a linear thinker and my life is not linear either. The same thing goes in my research. I might read a fiction about a hen that dreamed she could fly and use it in my research that is not about fiction nor hen. I can sit down at the public library floor, observing my baby who crawls and trying to stand up, and from this observation learn a thing or two about my research. I don’t know about other researchers, but that’s how my brain works.

Now, the cause of my silence is, I am considering to start over and make a new blog for above-mentioned purpose. Should I move or should I stay? (please let me know what you think). If I stayed, the blog would definitely have a new focus and identity. Is it okay to have an overall non-cohesive blog that has been evolving over time? Will it scare away my long-time friends? If I make a new blog, what am I supposed to do with this one? It’s been with me since the very first time wordpress was introduced, perhaps in 2006 (almost 10 years!).

Another thing that bugs me is: should I make a new blog in my native language, considering my friends who ask me on how to get the scholarship? But I am not sure my Indonesian friends would be interested to read the process, the becoming, the day-to-day life of a PhD student (who is also a new mom). Or, they might read it but not giving any interaction. I suspect they only want a quick how-to answer: how to get the scholarship? how to make a winning motivation letter? how to get published in international peer-reviewed journals? what to say during interviews? If I provided them with answers, they might be surprised because what I did was not congruent with the general guide to get a PhD scholarship. And I think those stuffs are such a bore to read, let alone write. Don’t you think so many other people have written on the subject? Let’s move on.

Deep down, I know it is important to write in my native language, not only due to my Indonesian friends’ requests but also because there’s so many myths about PhDs in Indonesian society. For example, PhDs are supposed to be a know-it-all who are ready with answers, answers, answers on this, and that, and everything. Not me, I got the scholarship perhaps due to my well-thought questions. I am the person who always ask thoughtful questions of something that is already absolutely obvious according to all the rest of other people. For them, I might not be the epitome of a PhD student. I am more of an annoying idiot slow-thinker bug. Another thing is PhD is supposed to be for old people who are already advanced in their field. When I did my masters in the Netherlands, I found a lot of my PhD friends are still in their twenties, so forget about the imagination that a PhD should be the next Karl Marx or someone who crushes and shatters Marx theories into pieces. (Le sigh, Unbelievable). Also, the myth that a new mom should not do PhD. Well, it’s such a different climate, at least according to my experience, in the Netherlands. The social structure (and my husband, got to mention it 😉 ) are supportive. One of my professor mentioned a colleague of his who is always becoming more productive during her pregnancy and baby-caring times, as in she always managed to published a book exactly during those supposedly overwhelmingly hectic period. The last myth is not exactly a myth but it still bugs me to write a blog in my native language: the notion that Indonesia’s lacking researchers. To be honest, I am not sure it is lacking. What I am not in favor with is the absence of process-stories, the becoming-stories, stories of researcher-in-the-making. What I sense is the government want to get a quick product and that product is “a researcher”. They send people to school, get a degree and that’s it. They signaled that they need more researchers but, seriously, what for? It seemed like the climate where I used to do research in Indonesia are allergic with questions, so how are you supposed to get more researchers? Perhaps you would get more people with degree but you won’t get any researchers if the only thing you would like to enforce is obedience.

So those things have been going on in my mind. It is important for me to document this process of PhD studies, but the question is how: in English or Bahasa Indonesia? In this blog or new one? And why am I making such a fuss of something that is only significant for me and totally insignificant for the rest of human being? If the last thing is true, than everything is clear. I would write for myself, no caring of getting any reader but me. But on the other hand, not less importantly, I would like to reach out to other PhD communities and people in my fields, and I would also like to get to know more of them who are Indonesian, so I can’t go totally “whatever” in this blog. I want it to be non-linear (the way my thought-process goes), but still neat. I want it to be rich but also focused.

I want it to be this and that all at once and perhaps I am just wanting too much.

Please help! What’s your thought or experience? Your suggestion would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Yours truly.

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10 thoughts on “Oh, how I miss blogging (and other news).

  1. Congratulations and good luck on the PhD! 🙂
    I couldn’t agree more about blogging friends being really close to your heart even though you’ve physically never met them!
    Keep writing, though! You really must be a blogger at heart. =D

  2. First of all, congrats from me too about the Phd!
    In my humble opinion, I think you should carry on this blog as it is, moving it in the direction of discussing your life and issues as a Phd student and mom. Start a second blog, in Indonesian, with all the practical questions Indonesians will be interested in, and link the two. Then people who are interested and speak both languages can move from one to the other. Encourage people in the Indonesian blog to ask about things they would like to know, or would like you to write about. Feel your way and all will become clear. Write for yourself first, and people who appreciate will follow as friends. Good luck!

    • Hugs! Your comment really helps! It’s amazing how something so furled and curled in my mind could be so easily disentangled by you! I would carry on this blog and moving it in the direction that you mentioned. The Indonesian blog will have to wait though, as I need to have more preparation (not a free-flow like this blog). Thanks to the internet that made me met and befriend amazing people like you!

  3. My dear Nadya, congratulations and all the best on the PhD! One of my best and dearest Indonesian friends is pursuing her doctorate degree, too, while working full time as a senior person in a dynamic, fast-paced private organisation. I admire her for it – she inspires me, and now you have my admiration too. I love learning, researching, and analysing things or people around me, so I’m excited for you. Getting a higher degree has always been on my mind – maybe someday soon, when I’m able to better manage my time between full-time career and myself/family.

    I agree with ML Kappa above – you should keep this blog going – in English, to cater to your international readers and friends; and start a new blog in Indonesian – that is, if you have time to maintain both. I certainly will be looking forward to reading your stories and learning experiences in both.

    Good luck and let us know how you go! Hugs!!

    • Dear Annie, thank you so much, I hope you will achieve all of your dreams one by one at the perfect time! I would definitely keep this blog going with a new focus and direction. I am happy to finally find it 🙂 Thanks for sticking around! I was absent for a while to prepare for the interview of scholarship, so I am very happy that you are here.

  4. Hi Nadya,

    Would you be interested in writing a blog (in English) on resource-online.nl? This is the news website of Wageningen UR. I think it would be nice for our readers to follow you in your process of becoming an independent researcher, as you phrased it. Perhaps you could continue writing your current blog and sometimes refer to your blog on resource-online? Normally our bloggers write a story every second week. If you are interested in joining our team, please drop me a line or give me a call. My contact details are: https://www.vcard.wur.nl/Views/Profile/View.aspx?id=25827

    At Resource, we currently have two Dutch bloggers and two international bloggers. These are all students. We also have a monthly vlog by a former student, and a column by a PhD candidate in Wageningen(written for the magazine but also published online). You can read the English blogs and columns here: http://resource.wageningenur.nl/en/Opinion-2.htm

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Best regards,

    Koen Guiking

  5. Congratulations on your new endeavor! Like you, I get energized by blogging and can’t seem to put it down. My friends secretly believe I’m watching the never ending Harry Potter series, but not true! It’s addictive, and after also taking the Writing/Blogging 101 courses, have made amazing virtual cheerleaders & friendships that have continued to flourish. I don’t believe our paths have crossed yet, but excited to see what your journey looks like!

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