You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Monday’ tag.

I spent 5 consecutive days at home last week and realised late last night that I was slowly going mad. So here I am, at my office, doing things more like a human being than a writing-crazed zombie, like checking emails and writing this post.

I am 2 chapters down at the moment and am halfway through a third. I have until March 4th, at the latest, to have a full working draft of my thesis done, and I’m feeling upbeat and hopeful about meeting my target.

That said though, it is HARD work. The paradox is that at the time when you need to be churning out words and sentences productively and producing logical, tangible volumes of writing, your mind goes blank. You spend hours just staring at the page, looking over your chapter plan, over the papers you have to cite. You know what you want to say but you can’t put it into words. Or if you can, it sounds cumbersome or illogical.

I’m supposed to be submitting in May and I still can’t write a sentence. Well, I can. I’ve written thousands of them already, and I will keep doing so until the job is done. But exactly how great my writing will convey my ideas, I have no clue.

On top of which I found out over the weekend my internal examiner has declined to examine me due to a clash in his schedule. So that’s great. I’ll be chasing after my supervisor today to see if we can have a chat about moving our viva date around a bit to make this work, because I really, really don’t fancy changing examiners at this late stage.

I just want them to stay alive and safe, not to have heart attacks or schedule clashes.

Everything’s all over the place again. This is supposed to be a peaceful time, I’m supposed to be sitting quietly at a desk in a peaceful room, turning all my research into a sensible narrative, all comfortably in time for my submission deadline. Instead, I am writing madly in the midst of examiner melodrama and trying fruitlessly to hold on to my sanity.

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, 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.”

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.

I’m rejoicing in the mania of Monday morning today. It’s another wet one! As with last weekend, the rain started on Sunday (though in the evening this time) and it rained steadily through the night, and it’s now been drizzling steadily all morning.

I took a walk out of the office mid-morning to buy a money order from the post office (another one of those rudimentary errands I have to run in order to accomplish something intellectually greater – namely, membership of a certain rather overpriced learned society). Despite having lived here for about 5 years I am still occasionally wonderstruck by British terminology and colloquialisms – today, this happened at the wonder of calling a money order a ‘postal order’. “Can I buy a money order for £66 please?” I said. “A what, sorry?” “A money order for £66,” I repeated. “You mean a postal order?” The teller seemed confused. I was then forced to launch into a brief definition of a money order to clarify my meaning for fear of ending up buying something I didn’t want. It makes sense, though I think ‘postal order’ sounds more like a type of delivery option for a parcel. Still, the post office was rather busy, as it is on Monday mornings, so the teller did not have time to stare with bewilderment at my culturally inappropriate choice of words.

I have had my fair share of bewildered looks, though. I was reminded of two in particular from some years ago on a backpacking trip in Europe. These were, 1) the bewildered look I got from a waiter in a hotel in Amsterdam upon ordering tea (not coffee) for breakfast; and 2) the equally bewildered look I received from a bureau de change cashier in Frankfurt upon handing him a wad of Australian banknotes with which to buy Deutschmarks (yellow fifty-dollar bills? Plastic? What?).

Anyway, my application for membership of the British Psychological Society is now complete. This just leaves me with another trek to the post office tomorrow to post the thing to them in Leicester. Oh, the joy of walking in the rain!

I spent a half hour this morning noting down things I need to draft out for my thesis tonight. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be helpful, because I usually get home in the evening exhausted from a day spent running errands and staring at the computer screen and then I just crash. Even if I sit down to write something for my thesis, I usually just stare at the chapter outline without any idea of where to start or how to word it. If I sit down to write with some prepared notes about what I want to say, then it might help me draft the section. Strangely, I’m actually looking forward to writing.

So, what next on manic Monday?

I’m off now to start my last (fingers crossed, touch wood) round of data collection, followed by some more research on potential thesis examiners. Riveting stuff.

Friend of WikiLeaks

February 2020
« Aug    


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 96 other followers

The Final Countdown

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