I don’t really know where I’m going today. Multiple insane myriads of issues require my attention and I’m finding it hard to repond to each one positively and constructively. I used to think assignments were difficult to juggle as an undergrad; Now it’s my job. And although it’s rewarding at times, most of my days are spent in a kind of half-delirium, wandering from one piece of work to another trying to be productive and still taking four times as long as I think I should.

“So what’s your thesis about?” people keep asking. I don’t know. In an ideal world we would know what we want to do before we started, we’d have a blueprint that never changes, and justifications for everything that can’t be rebutted. But it just doesn’t work like that. You start with a vague idea and then you end up learning so much on the way. In the space of three years, you change direction multiple times, reconsider your aims, rethink your purpose, and alter your conclusions. It’s almost a relief to know that things won’t stay the same forever, that one day, even after a long time, I will close this chapter of my life and move forward. “But how can I move forward when I don’t know which way I’m facing?” asks Lennon!

My thesis is definitely different now from what it was a year ago or six months ago or last week. Or, more precisely, the way I think about it is different, and it keeps changing every minute. I can only hope by the time I get to my viva my thinking will be at its best.

Sometimes working on a PhD is overwhelming and you lose your way. I am probably at the lower end of losing-your-way proneness and often feel as though I am lost on an ongoing basis! Yet I am making progress. I have published my first paper from the research and am submitting my second one this week. And I have two more papers yet to come this summer. How they will fare in the world of peer-review remains to be seen. Yet I have hope for them. I have hope for many things.

Despite all the crap that’s going on in my life, I enjoy the possibility of things turning out alright in the end. This is more about the way we tend to think about events retrospectively – in a positive light – than the way they actually turn out. Nevertheless, I have hope that my thesis, my PhD, my family and friends, will be fine in the end.

And then we will work out, somehow, how to go forward.

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