Postgraduate studies and research are complex endeavours

Pursuing a PhD and finding your supervisor is not for the faint-hearted. Yet in this article, Mridul Ghosh writes how tenacity and patience got him where he is today.

My life’s goal was not to become an engineer. I wished I could study something else, but I had to follow this route due to my circumstances. After completing my Master’s in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Calcutta, I decided that I would rather become a teacher.

 

I became a lecturer at Seacom Engineering College, which is close to my house, but it was clear that, in the long run, my teaching career would necessitate a Ph.D. I then started looking for a professor at Calcutta University to serve as my mentor. I spoke with a professor who was eager to accept me as his Ph.D. student and gave me a few topics to research. I used to go to him after spending a lot of time studying, pleading with him to give me more work. But I was instructed to write a book rather than conduct research. I believed that might be how one acquires knowledge and develops clear concepts. I began reading books and other resources on the subject of the book I was supposed to write. I completed three chapters, which amounted to about a year of study time. I later met with him to show him my writing. Without addressing my research, he encouraged me to write more effectively since he didn’t like the presentation. I gave up out of frustration and began looking for a new supervisor at a different university.

 

I soon met a professor from another university that I was already familiar with. Instead of giving me any work, he instructed me to select an image processing topic. I decided on one and got to work. I consulted him after roughly four to five months of study; however, he didn’t offer any guidance for my research. He didn’t take my work seriously and was quite reticent to talk about research. I began working alone, adhering to the published papers, but I was unable to produce quality work. I anticipated that he would instruct me on how to conduct research, write a report, etc. I really needed a clear direction for my work.  As a result of the lack of guidance, I fell behind by over four and a half years, going without a single noteworthy publication. I wasn’t enrolled in his university, either. I was disappointed and chose not to work with him any longer.

I then obtained employment with the government as an assistant professor at a university. I was eager to seem a passionate educator at the time. At Aliah University, I ran into a former colleague who was an associate professor there. I came to understand what I was looking for in a supervisor after talking to him. Since he had previously encountered circumstances like I had, he was extremely excited and pragmatic. After working for three years in the field of document image processing, I published more than 15 papers in addition to a few SCI/SCIE and Scopus publications. I have also experienced numerous pointless paper rejections.

Life is rarely a smooth curve, especially when it comes to research, which is a complex endeavour. There are a lot of highs and lows. Success in research requires tenacity, patience, and luck, of course.

Illustration by Liani Malherbe

To be finalised.

Mridul Ghosh

Assistant Professor Department of Computer Science Shyampur Siddheswari Mahavidyalaya (Under Calcutta University), West Bengal, India

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