Monday, 13 January 2014

Why do a PhD? It's more than just a thesis...

It's Monday and once again I could quite happily throw my notes and everything else out of my office window, I just want to finish! I have felt a bit like this before as described in a previous blog.  Whilst it would be great if the thesiswhisper could magically appear in my office, it's unlikely that she will be around to help me keep up the motivation and help me get to the end of my writing!

It's a few hours like this when I start to question, Why am I doing a PhD? - what possessed me to apply for a PhD programme in the first place?? It was a love of my topic and partly wanting to find a proactive way to help others. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.  I'm always busy, I work part-time whilst studying and volunteer as a leader with GirlGuiding. Having previously tutored alongside my research, about two years ago I changed job and went to work for the Institute for Academic Development. I love my job with the IAD and I enjoy being able to help other PhD students...if only I had known 3 years ago what I know now... Maybe I would be a more "Effective Researcher", capable of more successfully "Managing My Time, My Goals and Myself" who was better at "Mind Mapping" and "Speed Reading" and had adopted a better "Writing Process" to ensure I wasn't always asking "Is My Writing Academic Enough?" whilst worrying about giving "Effective Presentations".  

I think it's just as important to admit to having a bad day in the office as it is to admit to having a good/ successful day, after all you get out of your PhD what you put into it. Any PhD student who tells you they've never had a bad day are lying.  I quite like being able to do other things, I think if I had nothing else to focus on I would drive myself (and probably everyone else) a little crazy. I've always maintained that I didn't want to get to the end of my PhD, look back discover I had achieved nothing else in that three/four year period than producing a thesis which may just sit on the library shelf.  So being busy is great, having a job I enjoy is great - now all I need is to find some much needed motivation to get through this chapter! If anyone sees said motivation, please return it to me. :) 

Monday, 6 January 2014

Where did the holidays go??

Happy New Everyone!

It's January 2014 already and I'm once again back in CMB, in my PhD office! It looks pretty awful outside and I'm starting to think if I'm going to go out, it might be better to go home than get wet trying to get some lunch...the trouble is I'm not sure I really want to go outside in this at all. I wonder if anyone would notice if I camped under my desk?

The festive season, didn't feel particularly festive this year - maybe the lack of snow is to blame. I noticed this year that there were less Christmas lights on the outside of the houses, especially around where my mum stays, probably due to the continuous windy weather and the increasing cost of electricity. I spent a few days in Gourock over Christmas, then returned to Edinburgh for New Year and to spend a precious few days with my lovely other half.

So as I sit at my desk, peering out the window at the not-so-tempting weather, I wonder where the holidays went.  Although it feels like I have been away from my desk (and from work) for a while, I don't really think I ever put the thesis away or stopped thinking about it for more than the time taken to enjoy my Christmas Dinner.

The return to the office this morning, was not particularly difficult. I chose to avoid the usual rush hour traffic, opting to get the bus about 9am into uni. Thinking I would arrive to a bustling campus, I was surprised to find it so quiet. With the exception of Esje and I, the office is deserted and it doesn't feel like the university is fully functioning yet. So whilst I wonder where the holidays went, what happened to the Christmas break, I'm going to try and make the best of the quietness of CMB!