Thursday, January 26, 2012

Long Story Short by Engin Arik PhD.

[This time our guest blogger is none other than my dear dear husband, who, of course, completed his Ph.D. already. In addition to being the most wonderful husband, Engin is the person I admire the most in the whole world. It would be a long list if I explained all the reasons why, but, for our purposes, one reason would suffice: He gets things done very efficiently and makes it look easy, for God's sake. How can I not admire him, when I have to complain about what I have to do at least three times before I complete the task and I need people I respect believe in me (or what I do too)? I know, I know, too much to ask for. But I lose all my enthusiasm when I think what I do does not mean anything to people I respect and care about. I am well aware that this is a serious mental illness, I should be cured from ASAP to survive in life. Actually, this painful illness should definitely be included in DSM, if it is not already. Engin, on the other hand, can get anything done on his own without complaining if he puts his mind into it even if it means getting things done in spite of people. I am amazed how he does that. The funny thing is when I ask him how, he cannot quite articulate the process for me--just like any real expert would have difficulty explaining something to a novice. I call what he does "Just do it" strategy ^_^

When I asked him if he would like to write something for my blog, he demanded a written request, which I responded as "As you wish your highness, your demand is my command." We had a big laugh about the very formal email exchange between him and me about the blog entry. Engin's blog entry is partly about his advisor. I agree that advisor-advisee relationship is a VERY complicated one. I'm still trying to figure out how this relationship should be like, how formal and close it should be, what am I supposed to do, what should I expect and not expect. So don't look at me for answers. I'm afraid by the time I figure it out, I will be an academic advisor myself for ten years ^_^. Anyway, knowing Engin's travails personally, I can only admire him more for surviving what would have been a devastating experience for me. Hearing all kinds of horror stories about advisors from people I know, I wish academic advisors thought a little more about the consequences of their actions for their advisees. Well, I guess it is difficult to do since there is no consequence for being a terrible advisor, at least, I have never heard anything happening to any advisor for not doing their job right. For the most part, I feel fortunate myself. However, I do not think many academic advisors take their responsibilities seriously, if not abuse their power. Despite his not-so-easy relationship with his advisor, Engin has been an amazing academic advisor to me. So much so that I sometimes call him my personal advisor. Lucky me! The funny thing is the last time I called him my personal advisor, he looked at me with a smile and said "Personal advisor or personal assistant? :-P--Beril]

Long Story Short by Engin Arik PhD.

Dear Beril, thank you very much for this opportunity. I received my PhD in (interdisciplinary) linguistics from Purdue in 2009. Luckily, I was on a dissertation fellowship in my final year so I had a chance to concentrate only on my dissertation. That being said, I was unlucky because of the economic depression still hitting the US. There were some job announcements being retracted that year. Anyways, now I find myself back my home country, Turkey, since I got an assistant professor position here in Istanbul.

During my graduate study, I had developed this relatively difficult relationship with my advisor as everybody does. I was so lucky to have plenty of funding and guidance in my academic writing because of my advisor. I'd admit she was a good editor. That being said, she was too busy because she was and still is the head of an interdisciplinary program, very active in research and grant writing, and so on. She had limited time to spare with young researchers. Anyways, I took this as an opportunity and then developed independent ideas, submitted my works to international conferences to get some additional feedback, and, fortunately or unfortunately, attempted to publish my work by myself. Gradually, I started having decent publications by myself. I always thought it would be easier if my adviser spent a little more time with me to ease this publication process.

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