dong xinliang

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what really do you want? can you ensure it right?

I major in ecology now, but I found that I am favor of statistics more recently. In the next semester I will have a opportunity to apply Ph.D. of ecology without testing, because I will graduate in 2013. In addition, I want to take part in the Ph.D. exam of statistics for my dream. I know it is very sweet to make the dream true, but there is also many risks and hinderings on the way to get it. Think it simply, if I apply the Ph.D. without testing, I could save a lot of time to do something else, for example, learning the statistic by myself, writing, reading and so on.
so how to select? Thanks.

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    Aug 17 2012: When I came out of high school, I wanted to be an artist, but I also was pretty good at math. So I looked into something like animation, but my parents didn't want me to do this because it wasn't a very secure profession. The fact that I began to question myself whether I really wanted to go into animation/art meant that this wasn't my passion.

    I am now at Georgia Tech as a Computational Media major, some new major that is a blend of communication and media studies and computer science. And now, being exposed to so many cool things like games, media, digital technology, film, digital art, web design, social media, programming, computational logic, etc. I am no longer limited to just simply math, art, and animation, and I feel that this unique mix of backgrounds give me an edge over a lot of people, even though I don't go into too much detail into each field of studies. And really, I could go into any one of these fields, do well, and live a sustainable life if I really wanted to.

    So my point is, don't limit yourself just because your major tells you that you shouldn't do statistics. The exam itself and the PHD label itself are not important, what's important is the opportunities that the exam and the PHD provides. You do what you think needs to be done and what you think are important.

    And personally, I don't see why you shouldn't do ecology and statistics. That would make an interesting combination of knowledge/skillsets that would put you an edge over a lot of other people.

    And finally there was a recent tedtalk where there was one girl who stopped pursuing her Master's to do what she believes needs to be done: http://www.ted.com/talks/caitria_and_morgan_o_neill_how_to_step_up_in_the_face_of_disaster.html
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      Aug 18 2012: 张,不知道你来自哪里,看你名字应该是同胞啊。谢谢你的建议和提醒,生态学的领域需要很多统计学的知识,也正因如此我才对统计学感兴趣的,后来了解到统计学更多的相关知识才想专攻统计学。是的,考试和博士并不能说明什么,关键是看个人追求,我们都是将近30岁的人了,要对自己的未来做一个清晰的规划。当然除了统计和生态之外我还有许多事情可以做,我喜欢书法,尽管现在写的不好,但是我相信通过努力一定可以写出拿的出手的作品。我决定了考统计学的博士,再次谢谢你,希望以后多交流。
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        Aug 18 2012: I'm unfortunately not very literate in Chinese, despite my family's cultural background, but I did put that into Google Translate.

        Anyways, no problem! Just do whatever you think/feel is right and nature will take its course for better/worse depending on how you look at it :)
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          Aug 19 2012: :) Thanks a lot, and I am sorry that I did not know that you are not familiar with Chinese. you are very kind.
  • Aug 19 2012: Just do It!

    this is the motto of most successful entrepreneurs and top athletes.

    Before you quit, Give a GO

    I agree sometimes in live we have dilemmas, sometimes we have blockages in brain.
    and sometimes we need some one to push us forward.

    We lived / live / will live through these processes - this is part of the life.

    Good luck with whatever you start, but just Start, take the first step.

    M Jordan failed many shots to become a top player.
    Edison failed many times when he was inventing lightbulb -
    (can you imagine what would happen today if he quitted? - maybe some one else will give a go)

    I have strange philosophy for the word TRY.

    If I say "Try to stand up" what am I actually saying to you, Do It or Don't do it: Stand up or Don't stand up?
    you do it or you don't do it, it is quite simple.
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    Aug 18 2012: Ecology, as I understand it, is a content area and statistics a methodoligical approach in research. In many countries a doctoral program in a content area such as ecology would not only encourage you to pursue statistics but eve require it.

    I would guess that regardless of whether your doctorate is in ecology with a great deal of graduate coursework in statistics or whether the PhD was in statistics proper, you would have the opportunity over your career to do much of the same work if you are interested in applied work.

    If you want specifically to be a professor of statistics, you may need the doctorate in statistics.

    If you wanted an academic or professiona position in biostatistics, you may well be able to work or teach in that area with a doctorate in ecology supported by a lot of graduate level coursework in statistics.

    So I think whichever route you take, you will have great opportunities to develop competency in statistics and an opportunity to use statistics professionally.
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      Aug 19 2012: Thanks, Fritzie. Reading many of your suggestions I decided to take the exam no matter what happens.
      Honestly, PhD is just a label but not the real power. I really want to engage myself to the research of statistic, even though ecology has it interesting character. Everyone could choose only one main way to approach.
  • Aug 18 2012: Hi Dong

    I would say that you are suffering because of the over-choice you have there, but I won't. because the choice is yours.
    and there is only one choice which feel right to us. the over-choice is an artificial invention which doesn't allow human's to make a decision that is right for the future. (yes today's decision for the future)

    It is the moment of your decision that your future is shaped.

    What I really wanted yesterday, is not what I wanted for today.
    What I really want today may not be what I really want for tomorrow.

    but one thing is certain choosing the path that will take me there where I really want to be.
    (If I don't know where I want to go, then any roads will take me there, it doesn't matter which one to talk)

    as Martin Luther King Jr once said: "Take the first step in faith, you don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step"

    My 1000 miles cycling trips started with one pedal - yet before that I had a vision, a mental picture, me being there already. I felt what I would feel when I would be there. I saw what I would see when I would be there. I heard what I would hear when I would be there.

    Now, How would you feel if you had Ph.D ? What would you see if you had it? what would you say to yourself if you had it? what you would hear people saying if you had it?
    whatever you are see around you, has been in someone's mind before they became things.
    My point is: Instead of creating a dilemma for yourself, seek ways to achieve the highest peak you dreamed for.

    No one ever wandered around Mount Everest hoping to get on the top. and the one on the top didn't just fall there.

    Cheers
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      Aug 19 2012: Thanks, Edwin. I really appreciate what you said, what I really wanted yesterday, is not what I wanted for today. What I really want today may not be what I really want for tomorrow. However, today we have to choose the best in our hearts, though it would be the worst tomorrow.
      You are very energetic and valiant, and I believed that you are a very good leading card to me and guys around.
      I like statistics, and I can learn more in the professional environment, maybe that is why I want to get a statistic's degree of the field in the future. I don’t know what will say to me, but I will never say sorry as long as I have tried. Additionally, what someone else say is not important; we cannot be liked by everyone. Just do it.
      Cheers
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    Aug 18 2012: I agree with James.
    You don't have to choose between ecology or statistics -- you can do both!! Although statistics might be your passion, you have invested so much into ecology that you should not throw that knowledge away. Knowledge is never useless.

    For practical or economic reasons, you may need to initially go ahead and begin working in ecology. But as you said, you can still pursue your passion in your spare time. Or, for a more creative option -- find ways of including your passion (statistics) into your professional job (ecology).

    A quick google search for the phrase "Statistical Ecology" shows that there is a whole world of people just like you -- who share your background in those 2 subjects. GO MEET THEM!! :-)

    NCSE: National Centre for Statistical Ecology - www.ncse.org.uk
    CSEES - Center for Statistical Ecology and Environmental Statistics - stat.psu.edu/~gpp
    International Statistical Ecology Conference - www.cees.uio.no/isec2012/
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      Aug 18 2012: Thanks, Barry. I agree with what you said, knowledge is never useless. I learned agricultral resource and enviroment in my university and then I chose ecology as my master student's major. I am very satisfied that I have learnt so many. However, it is not about what I will learn but which I will choose. Nevertheless, I will persue my passion and I will not give the ecology up.
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    Aug 17 2012: This is an earnest and deep question. You have a set of skills and an opertunity. I would personally suggest , and have- take the opening. There is a Canadian expression from hockey that says "If you never shoot, you never score". So take that shot! You know that your love of stats is not going anywhere and you will build it within yourself. That will serve you well in your career. I think now of the man who wrote "Freakenomics". By using methodogies from inside his field and applying it to things outside that field he moved the whole world ahead in its thought processes. (I did read that he simply reported those studies but the point for you remains the same.) From the inside you have many opertunities. Grab that chance and bend it to your own interests! Stats is a great skill which has many applications. Good luck! MAKE US PROUD!
    Only take that test in a year when no one can hurt you with the results.
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      Aug 17 2012: I'm out of likes, Debra, but that was very inspirational :)
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      Aug 18 2012: Thank you for the energetic suggestion and encouragement. I will take the exam to pursue my dream, hence I could not say sorry to myself in the future. I will try with confidence.
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        Aug 18 2012: You have my very best wishes from Canada to keep you fortified! Good luck, Bonne Chance!