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Well, isn’t this some nice deja vu. Another month has flown by and, although I have made some progress towards getting my PhD, the pessimist in me says it’s small compared to the huge amounts of time I feel I have spent procrastinating. How true that is, I don’t know, but I certainly feel I haven’t accomplished as much as I could or should have.

This is me, the one my supervisors say is ‘brilliant’ and should have gotten her PhD two years ago.

The other day I signed up to PhinisheD.org, an international forum for postgrads who are in the writing-up stages of their research. Taking a cyber-stroll through the various threads and posts, it’s surprising how much other thesis writers’ struggles resemble my own – everything from inspirationlessness to blankness to states of complete chaos. Moreover, I’ve come to appreciate there are many with much bigger problems than me – mad supervisors, evil examiners, and complete cluelessness in the field of self-organisation…no, wait, I have that too.

When I think about everything that’s happened in my PhD in the last 2-and-a-bit years, it blows my mind. There have been times when I’ve felt like I’ve hit rock bottom. But believe me, there really always are people who are worse off. To borrow a quote from Jennifer Aniston, there’s rock bottom, then 50 feet of crap, then me.

Today is Monday. It’s past 10am and it’s still unusually quiet. There’s a couple interns at their desks and a postdoc down the hall. And me. Typing away incessantly and producing these words that I’m not even sure make sense to anyone. If I have helped anyone, even the slightest bit, with anything I have ever posted about, then that’s an accomplishment for me.

I just wonder if I have helped myself, at all! Because I still feel as confused as ever before.

I just keep reminding myself the end is near and I’m getting there. We are all getting there. And one day, not so far down the line, we will find ourselves saying, “Well, here I am. It’s done.”

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I’m going to a conference in Wales in December and just got my train tickets in the post. It’s only a one-day conference, so I thought I would receive two tickets: My return train ticket from London, and my PlusBus card, which is for using the local buses in the town I’m going to. Alas, train tickets seem to be a lot more complex than my naive mind assumes. Hence, my bemusement at opening the envelope to find not fewer than thirteen separate tickets, all printed on the same cream-and-orange ticket cards so as not to allow you to tell the difference between them, including separate tickets for the outbound and return journeys, a number of obscure coupons, seat reservation cards, my receipt, and blank card with my name on it. I’ve just spent half an hour putting mini yellow post-it notes on them to tell them apart.

And I thought PhDs were complex!

In retrospect, I was wrong about last Monday. It’s actually today that’s manic. Today I have to:

  • Type up a letter for the landlord’s solicitor
  • Photocopy a stack of receipts
  • Set up my last study and start data collection
  • Type up a case file on my external examiner for my supervisor
  • Type of an abstract to append to my next paper and submit it to its journal
  • Catch up with my supervisor
  • Book train tickets for a conference in December
  • Draft out the next section of my thesis

But you know what? I got into the office at 7:30am today and got straight to work. And so far everything’s been panning out fine.

It’s times like these I remember this is the reason I love doing my PhD. Because I like it when I make it work.

I’m meandering a bit but I’m on my way out of the maze.

Friend of WikiLeaks

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The Final Countdown

Submission of PhD ThesisMay 1st, 2013
The big day is here. Joy to the world!
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