Tuesday, May 09, 2006

To Sir with love

PGO, this one's for you!

Had thought of doing a post on some of my favorite teachers a while back. The ones that left the deepest mark on my life, the ones that shaped my future, walked me through troubled childhood and adolescence and made me who I am today. But that never got written. So this post is essentially an off-shoot of that imaginary post (which I still intend to write at some point). This is my tribute to PGO, the person who has been my guide and advisor, encouraging me to find my way in unchartered waters. And most importantly teaching me how to love and embrace a subject that I had been totally unfamiliar with until I met him.

I met PGO in the Spring of 2001. He was warm, charming, enthusiastic about my abilities and wanting to work with him, and willing to take a chance on me inspite of my doing miserably in course work the previous semester. Not only did he walk me through my project and how he envisioned things in the future, he approached each step with an explanation of what I was aiming to do, how to go about it and what I expect to get out of it. It was the best thing that could have happened to me. I was treading on absolute unfamiliar territory here. Never been taught the subject in school or college, everything was a constant source of the unknown, more questions and non-stop bewilderment. Yet, PGO was patient, never laughed at my lack of knowledge, always encouraging me to explore and learn and teaching me to face failure and be able to find the path to success.

Graduate school is never easy. And I have seen my share of frustrations and failed experiments. I've quit on my project and my career a million times in my head over the course of the next few years. But I've never seen PGO give up. On me or my project. He taught me to think for myself, to analyze problems and learn to get around obstacles. I don't think I would have made it without his support, encouragement and advise. And every step of the way he never failed to tell me how good I was doing, and how hard I worked and to hang in there and everything would work out. And even though I may have been skeptical, somewhere inside a little piece of me wanted to believe in him. And myself.

And to my surprise I survived. And when I was ready to defend my dissertation PGO introduced me in words that I'll never forget. He called my research "ground-breaking work" and the "best science to come out his lab". And he had tears in his eyes when he hugged me and wished me luck. That was last year.

This weekend PGO officially hooded me at the Graduation ceremony. I don't think there is anything more rewarding than being able to don the graduation robe and walk with the person who has shown you the path.

Thank you PGO for all your support and help! This one's for you..........

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17 Comments:

Blogger Seashells said...

In one way or another, academic advisors are like artists. They mould the best of you and hide your defficiencies...

Congratulations for having graduated :)

1:30 PM  
Blogger Kele Panchu said...

Congratulations on your graduation! Being a good mentor is not an easy task. You need to have one at some point of your life. You were lucky that you got PGO, when you needed a mentor most.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Rohan Kumar said...

Having officially lived and survived thru grad school I can personally vouch for the fact that you were indeed blessed to have such an advisor, no wonder you will always remember him/her.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Fosix said...

Congrats on graduating !!

8:27 PM  
Blogger Casablanca said...

So when is the graduation party? :)

10:22 PM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

Amen.

You can never pay this back, except by passing it on in your own time and way. Best of luck!

12:56 AM  
Blogger Priya said...

Congratulations and celebrations on the graduation. And about PGO, all I can say is he recognised the gem in you. Kudos to him for that. Keep going, M. Here's to many more accolades. (Champagne hochhe??)

1:30 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

Congrats. About your teacher, it's nice to know other people have such guides too. I did, and have always been thankful.

1:43 AM  
Blogger Bidi-K said...

Congratulations! .... on graduating and more so on having an advisor like PGO. Never having experienced a caring advisor I am happy to see that they do exist! :) I was so frustrated at the end of my PhD I didn't even attend the hooding ceremony, which is supposedly the best part.

4:24 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ seashells thank you. And yes I was lucky to have a wonderful advisor. But not everyone is as lucky as that.
@ kele panchu I've been sort of lucky always when it comes to teachers and mentors and guides *touchwood*. I hope things stay that way. Always.
@ rohan I know that. I truly have been blessed.
@ fosix thanks!
@ casa we had a small one with family because everyone had convened in Chicago for the event. My cousins were there and my parents. It was fun.
@ tabula rasa thanks for stopping by. And I hope that some day I can do something good to pay back this blessing.
@ priya thank you, thank you! Since I defended the PhD last year and officially graduated this year, it has been one constant party. We opened bottles of champagne that PGO brought over the day I defended. This time we celebrated my paper getting accepted.
And of course the hooding and all.
@ sue I guess we are the lucky ones. I'm glad there are more people who have had the good fortune as me.
@ bidisha thank you. I know not everyone ends their PhD with a good experience. I was lucky. And I'm grateful. And agreed the whole hooding and graduation ceremony brought closure to my PhD. I am so glad I attended.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Arthur Quiller Couch said...

From your blog, you come across as a decent, wholesome person. What on earth were you doing on my disreputable blog?!

Thanks for dropping by, do come again.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Jinguchakka said...

The post about the sonogram was really scary and i could understand your difficulty.

And yes, being with your parents makes one happy. Hope they stay long enough with you.

Catching up on your past posts. :-)

Well, teachers make or break careers and every persons outlook on education in general and subjects specifically is molded by the teachers and their performance.

6:40 AM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ arthur q.c. this "decent, wholesome" person is a regular on your blog :) I find it entertaining and fun. And I do not intend to stop visiting anytime soon. Thanks for stopping by mine.
@ jinguchakka hey good to see you again. And thanks for stopping by.

8:33 AM  
Blogger Prerona said...

:)

9:33 AM  
Blogger True Blue Guy said...

I loved that book To Sir, With Love by ER Braithwaite

3:40 PM  
Blogger Ratna said...

Congratulations! I love how professors mentor their students here in US. I happen to have the best mentors, I have seen and heard of. I exactly know what you mean :)

7:04 PM  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

@ prerona :)
@ t.b.g me too. I was fascinated with it when I read it. The movie is wonderful too. Watch it if you haven't.
@ ratna guess we are the lucky ones, right? Thanks!

9:20 AM  

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