Posted 04 October 2010 - 07:28 AM
Thank you adrian, homebrew and philman for your kind comments. I've been reading your comments these couple of days and I feel alot better already. I guess I do like research and I guess I should give myself somemore time to increase productivity. Maybe like what my PI told me, I should just think of one thing at a time. And maybe I should wait longer and see if phd is really the right choice, because at this point of time, I've been travelling on a really bumpy road.
I wonder if you would be interested in listening to my cursed graduate life, something terrible just happened to me, again. And this time, entirely unrelated to research work. I had to do a heavy-weightage group assignment for one of the classes that I go for. And a graded portion of the assignment requires different groups to post questions to the other groups doing a presentation on their assignment. One of my group mates was so stressed out by this, that she took the liberty (without the consent of me and the other group member) to mass email everyone in the tutorial class, proposing a well-thought out plan for each individual groups to come out with questions before the class and share it so that everyone can prepare for the answers. She wanted to do so, so that no one will be caught off-guard during the tutorial class. And worse of all, she propose that everyone put on their pretending skills and act natural during the class, such that the tutor will not know that we had prepared the Q&A earlier.
I was given a rude shock when I saw the email, and I told myself "No, I disagree". But I didn't take much action other than try to tell that group mate that I am worried about what she had done and that she is taking a huge risk. Not everyone will agree and there will potentially be someone who will stab her behind her back. I was being really subtle and nice (although I really wanted to tell her that she may get us into trouble), that she saw the risk of mass emailing everyone, but did not see the urgency to rectify the issue. I, on the other hand, was also crossing my finger and hoping that this problem will just die down and that our tutors will not find out. Everytime she mentioned about working on the "shared" questions, I just kept quiet and made no further comments about it. In the end, no one except one tutorial classmate replied saying it was a good idea. I just didn't want to be very involved in this, so I did nothing. Since nobody else was keen anyways, so I thought that everything will be fine.
In the end someone told on us and our tutors had a "meeting" with us to find out why we wanted to cheat. Never in my life was I accused of cheating and having to be "trialled" that I was flushing and feeling quite nervous. Even though my group member admitted that she came out with the plan without me and the other member's agreement, I still feel stressed up. I tried hard to speak up for her, and I was hesitant when my tutor asked me if I think her actions were wrong. I tried not to increase her burden so I hesitated and used subtle words like "I disagree with her" ..."but I hope you would give her another chance". However, this probably make one of my tutor think that I am involved too that he asked me 2 or 3 time whether I am "realy not involved" and whether I "knew this beforehand". He sounded as if, I was also involved in planning this, but I let my group mate take all the blame. Even though I tried to explain for myself, without sounding as if I put blame on my group member, he doesn't seem to believe me. Perhaps my stand was not firm enough.
In the end, the entire group was punished. My group mate had a good portion of her grades taken off, and the other 2 of us had half of the penalty she got. I just feel that my tutor does not trust me that I am totally innocent (ok, not totally, since I did nothing to stop my groupmate) because of my hesitance. My parents told me I should have not spoken up for her, and should have made things clear that I really wasn't part of planning the "scheme". Just like what the other group member did, and my tutor did not question him; my tutor even thanked him for being non-hesitant. I on the other hand, has garnered poor impression.
FML...I guess there is nothing more we can do except do really well for the assignment so as to gain as much points as possible to cover for the points that we've lost. Sadly though, the assignment, in my opinion, is badly done and pretty much in pieces. Now that we have screwed up so badly, I think it will be even harder to score reasonably well for this semester to keep my scholarship...sigh