With great expectations come great disappointment

Yesterday it was SnT Partnership Day and almost everyone in SnT was present at the event. We had to, because it was meant to be SnT’s “major” event for publicity. Besides SnT staff, current and potential partners, investors and government officials were also there. The program looked good on paper: keynote speaker from Fraunhofer, student demos and posters, round-table discussions on innovation and tech-transfer, and so on. I also expected the event to be great, only to find myself disappointed after the event.

The event was not well organized. Schedule was not well followed. After the morning coffee break people remained “networking” outside the conference room while speakers on stage talked with low volume. Students were told to leave the table for guests but there are not enough table for neither guests or students. I guess only “important” people eat sitting.

I was especially disappointed at the round-table discussion. For the first half-hour the host slowly introduced the guests, making jokes that are not funny at all. And for the remaining half-hour six guests were asked one or two questions and there didn’t seem to be any insightful or in-depth discussions. I could have done better than that.

And for the posters, it worked as I had expected: we wasted time preparing for it and few people actually cared about it. And in fact I didn’t care either. Posters are certainly not my favourite dish.

This makes me sad. Whenever I expect something great, it will almost certainly disappoint me. I suppose I’m not good at expectation management at all. The solution to this issue is, of course, “I don’t care (about the results)”. However, this is also dangerous. Not caring about certain things is fine, but one cannot care about nothing. There is always something one lives up for.

It’s funny how expectations work on us. If we have low or no expectations, we don’t care what might happen and we don’t feel motivated about things better. In this case things won’t get better because no efforts are made. On the other hand, when we expects too much, the results often fail us. We feel more pressed and more nervous. And then we doubt ourselves and feel depressed.

It’s difficult to manage our own expectations, yet more so when it comes to managing others’ expectations on you. Expectations are not static and constant. They grow when you meet others’ expectations and they’re lowered when you don’t. Neither is good for you. When expectations grow, there will definitely be a day when you’re not able to fulfil them, despite how hard you try and how much pressure you receive. When expectations are lowered on you, this means people are already getting disappointed and you’re going to lose opportunities. From a longterm perspective, it might be good to only slightly meet or fail the expectations, so that they don’t grow exponentially but instead together with your capability. Sustainability is the key.

Having said that, it might even worthwhile trying failing expectations every now and then, so that you’re able to get a hold of other’s expectations, instead of the other way round. It will be painful, but that’s the only way I’m aware of.

To sum up, the key really is about living your true self. What others expect from you should only have minimum impact on you. Let them manage their own expectations on you and why should you worry about it?

Take a break

Only three months to go before I have to deliver my thesis. It’s supposed to be 9-month work but I have to complete in less than five months; otherwise I’ll have to pay expensive tuition and enroll for the next academic year. When you receive something you need to give away some at the same time.

We have EU founding to support our studies; in return we have to stick with one study program and
complete the study in time. For these kinds of programs there’s not so much flexibility compared with other self-founding programs. At KTH I had the most boring courses in my life. All I had to do there is to configure routers. It would be fun when you have one of these courses; but having more than half of the curriculum trying to teach you to design a network was like forcing soldiers to stay in lecture halls listening to all kinds of theories all day long. It’s sick; it’s not what
you are expecting.

But anyhow technical stuff in school life should not be the most important. It’s a whole new world and I wouldn’t force myself into something one can learn anywhere. Apart from the boring studies, life in Sweden and Finland is better than anyone could expect. There’s beautiful nature, multicultural environment and nice folks everywhere. One of the most important reasons I love here is how people enjoy life. No one seems to be pushing you
forward; no one tries to persuade you into doing something;
 you don’t have much pressure saving money in order to buy an apartment; you are away from people’s nagging of what you should do and what you shouldn’t. It is just comfortable, cozy and easy to have a life as such.

Eat when you are hungry; drink when thirsty; rest when tired. Simple rules often work best. Seize the day.

I don’t need to worry about anything since I know somehow
I’ll finish the thesis in time. And I even don’t care how exactly I’m gonna do that. But I will.

Enjoy as much as possible, even if you are doing research. 🙂