Well okay; "winter" as far as OC is concerned. And actually, come to think of it, that reference doesn't really apply to what I'm writing about, but whatever. I'm committed now (because I miss GoT and really want the next season to come out already).
This quarter was tough. Like, seriously tough. I realized earlier this week that my expectations of theory research were completely and totally incorrect. More to the point, I went about this first project almost entirely the wrong way, taking to the problem like a bull in a china shop. Which, in case you're curious, didn't work too well.
I've recently started getting into lock picking (just as a hobby; no plans to recreate Oceans 11 any time soon) and what I enjoy most about it is how deliberate one has to be to get through a 6 pinner with security pins. You can't just jam two ends of a paperclip into the lock and expect the thing to open. It takes time, finesse, and patience.
Theory is a lot like that. I'm sure that as I learn more, things will go maybe a little smoother, but the fact is, there is always going to be something new in any problem worth researching just by the nature of how research works. I often tell people that theoretical chemistry is neat because it lies at the intersection of chemistry, physics, and mathematics. The past week or so has made me realize that I was regurgitating this lip service without realizing what it actually means.
I wish I'd gotten more done this quarter, but working through this has been really valuable. It's a cliché, but I almost feel like I've learned to crawl over these past few weeks.
Now it's time to try and stand up.