Needy Students: The Ultimate Motivator

Needy Students: The Ultimate Motivator

This week’s theme at Engineer Blogs is motivation and, if you can’t tell from my late post, I’m motivated to work on other things right now. My discussion on this topic is highly linked to a previous Theme Week on Deadlines. In that post, I discussed how I toss in procrastination and deadlines, and mix it with pressure and a dash of biting-off-more-than-you-can-chew and come out in reasonable shape (when it’s all over). GMP had a comment that she worked in a similar fashion, so I was somewhat relieved to find out I wasn’t the only one. When it comes down to it, I think I’m most motivated by not wanting to let other people down.

I’d like to think that I’m the person that comes through 10 times out of 10 (SHAFT!). That doesn’t mean I’m always successful (hence my recent proposal rejection) but in the context of coming through in the end, I’m really trying for 100%. For instance, I have 1 PhD student who will need external funding in about 1 year and 5 months when my startup money runs out and I’m trying my damnedest to get it. That’s also why I’ve been late on posts lately. I realize that I’m not going to get every grant but I want to make sure that I put enough out there so that at least one sticks and the student that depends on that funding gets it. That’s the type of motivation that’s currently driving me.

My time is approximately 90% consumed with establishing a research group (which means bringing in money for the foreseeable future). That leaves 10% of my time for worrying about being successful at building a research group while I’m trying to get everything else done. I want to work on really cool stuff and invent new things. I want my students to be successful at research and establish their own careers when the time comes. But I think even more important than that, I want to make sure that when I tell a student that I want them to work with me, I want to make sure they have enough funding to do good research and pay their stipend. So I’m pretty much consumed by that type of motivation right now.

[image: link, (yay for google image search)]