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I could've been scooped

My husband came home with a journal the other day. He said, "Look at the second article from the bottom."

My heart nearly hit the floor.

The article covered pretty much what I had planned on doing for my PhD had I stayed in electrical engineering. I still had hopes to pursue it since I'd already done some preliminary work. My MS advisor really was excited about this field of research, and I was disappointed that I didn't have the time to do more with it.

On the other hand, they submitted this article nearly a year before I had even started looking at the problem. Had I put all sorts of time and effort into it, only to discover that these folks took two years to iron out the kinks in their paper before resubmitting and publishing, I would've been incredibly frustrated. (Even now, I'm a bit disappointed that I wasn't able to come up with this first.)

I think I have an inkling of an idea about how it must feel to be scooped now...and I'm a bit relieved that I didn't pin my PhD hopes on it.

One would think that would be the end of the dilemma...but it's not.

Instead I am now thinking that if they have done enough of the leg work, this may provide something rather useful. I was planning on doing the work of developing a specialized software because I wanted to use it to examine a particular set of applications. Based on the journal in which this article is published, I suspect they may go a different direction with it.

It's entirely possible that it could be much easier now to move along to some of the other things I was interested in.

It's a lot easier to be positive about this when my career hopes aren't pinned on it. However, I still am not sure why I'm reluctant to walk away from it entirely. This worries me when I know I have other things on which I should be focusing.

I'm not good at closing doors. I find that having a singular focus leaves me slightly bored but allows better focus. When I focus on several things, my boredom is replaced by frustration due to lack of time to focus on anything enough to bring it to completion, but then there is such a variety of things to learn. I'm sure that there's a happy medium, which I have yet to find. Usually it seems that my schedule will set my priorities for me, and that will determine if this is a door I feel the need to close, even if reluctantly.


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