Posted by: unlikelygrad | July 26, 2010

intuition

People may think this is odd for a scientist, but I am very definitely an intuitive thinker. When I get hunches and act on them, I am usually surprised but pleased with the results. When I get a hunch and dismiss it because “I’m just being paranoid,” I usually regret it.

For example, two years ago I was working on my list of grad schools to apply to. I had a hunch that the list was incomplete, so I went back over all the schools I had “rejected” and finally decided I needed to add MyU–the geochemistry, rather than the chemistry program. After this the list felt right.

A year and a half ago I had four graduate school acceptances in hand: one from a school with a good reputation, one from a school with an advisor I really wanted to work for, and one from a school with a decent reputation and a great interdisciplinary program. Oh, and MyU. The acceptance from MyU was the only one that didn’t excite me. I visited because I ought to. But I had a gut feeling that this would be the best school for me. “WHY??!!” asked SL when I told him my decision. And I honestly couldn’t give him an answer. But after a year of grad school, it’s clear to me that the things I love most about MyU are the things that I couldn’t have gotten in the other three programs.

After meeting with several faculty members at MyU as a prospective grad student, I picked out two who I wanted to work with. Neither was Dr. Hand-Waver. But when push came to shove, I had a strong feeling that I should go with Dr. HW as an advisor. Why? Her research was only tangentially related to what I wanted to do. But, having worked with her for a while, I see now that I chose wisely. (This is a topic for another post though.)

Of course I like to analyze everything, including my own behavior. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m hyperaware, that I see many things that my conscious mind doesn’t register. Yet my subconscious processes them just fine, and uses them to send me those gut feelings that help me make wise decisions.

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Responses

  1. […] I wrote before that I rely on intuition a lot when making decisions. My intuition is right ~95% of the time, but it is wrong occasionally. […]


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