I’m in the process of forming my committee, and I’m feeling more embarrassed than ever.
Quick background: I’m a first-year PhD student in computational biology. My undergraduate research was focused on analyzing human genomics data. My current lab focuses on lipidomics in model organisms. Currently, I’m working on a short-term project to manage some existing data. This work will be finished in a few months and should be publishable, but it’s more incremental work.
When talking to potential committee members, I know that I need to clearly express my long-term research goals. That’s what I’m struggling with and am embarrassed about. As an undergraduate, I was confident in my research interests as I felt well enough versed in my research area. Now that I’m in a slightly different research area, I’m less confident. I have broad views of my interests, but I’m really feeling a lack of background knowledge in my new field. I know that I need to translate my interests to knowledge gaps in my new field and make concrete plans to get where I want to go. I’m not there yet, which embarrasses me.
How do I speak well of my research interests when I haven't made concrete plans? What professor is going to want to work with me if I don't have concrete plans?
What advice do you have for conveying your long-term research interests when you’re in a new field, and you haven’t fully made broad goals into concrete plans?