When I was a teenager, I was actively involved in the Youth Fellowship in my church. At that time, I involved in various committee. Let me count. 3 times in Camp / Retreat committee (in 2 of which I was one of the constructor of the whole schedule and sessions), once as the coordinator of Christmas celebration, 3 years in the Music Coordinator, and 1 year as the vice-coordinator of the entire Youth Fellowship. During those years, I have encountered (or to be more precise, I have scolded :p) various kind of people in my team work. I have always considered myself to be more systematic than all my friends. I remember how I was astonished when I found out that some friends cannot even settle a very simple matter such as ordering packaged-meal for our Christmas celebration or when I found out that the treasurer did not have any idea of even a simple accounting. I have always considered myself to be systematic because:

  1. I always have a rough idea about my job description from the very first time I take my assignment in the committe.
  2. I always have a clear time-schedule e.g. if the retreat is on July, I should have the complete list of sessions by January- I should have contacted all the speakers by March, I should have booked the camp-site or the retreat-villa by February, etc.
  3. I always know what I need to report during a meeting and what I need to do next, all neatly written in my agenda.
  4. When I was the one who leads the meeting (which is often), I always know what to discuss: I ask each section-coordinator to report the progress of their work, I told them what to do next, I push them if they are slow, etc.

Now as a research student, I realize that I am not (yet) as systematic as I thought myself to be, because:

  1. I only had a very, very rough idea about my research topic when I came here (self-defense: hey, it’s normal, I’m only a bachelor, how can anyone expect me to know anything about stochastic simulation or research-behaviour?)
  2. I still cannot make a  very clear time-schedule e.g. if I want to graduate by 2011, when should I start writing? how many papers I need to submit? when should I finish my simulations? etc.
  3. I am not always sure what to report during a meeting and what I need to do next. Ok, it is not the case now. At least now, I always have ideas what to report and what to do next.
  4. The one who leads the meeting, i.e. my Prof, told me that I did not work in a systematic way (I’m glad he is not as rude as me when I critiqued my friends back in my teenage years).

When my prof told me for the first time that I didn’t work systematically, I was a bit sunk. But now, I realize that he is correct. I realize that not only in research, but also in my reading, I was not systematic. I am rather proud that I read a lot, but now I realize that so many books I want to read are still left unread, untouched. I started my continuous Bible reading in 2003 but still I haven’t finished it. Ok, I know that this is not an ordinary book, I should not focus on finishing it but rather on digesting it– but I only give an example about systematic reading. Then Apologia — why take me so long to read it? CS Lewis’ books–still unread. Karl Barth’s books –sigh. And what systematic principles I have gathered from my reading? What are my religious opinions? Not very clearly defined, right? Of course I don’t say that I’m confused or have no strong ground of faith. No, it is not that. But I realize that I cannot explain my opinions in a systematic arguments.

After all, should all things be systematic? May I not read anything I like, anytime I want, stop reading anytime I want to do another thing? Must I read all high-quality books? Should I plan everything, organize everything?