Revelations, reflections and motivation to write…

Since my last post, my attitude towards my PhD and my thesis has miraculously changed. I had decided shortly after my last post that I was going to reduce my PhD to part time, get a full time job (not within academia) and write my thesis when I could.  It felt ok with this decision and my partner and family were, fully supportive of my decision.  I had pushed myself into feeling it was the right thing to do, but I had a niggle in the back of my brain and gut that was saying, “No, don’t go backwards, don’t go back into your old field!  You’ve done it!!  You’re embarking on something new!  Don’t look back!” But I did.

I applied for jobs in my previous field and in turning up to my first interview, and actually in the prep I did the week before the interview, I felt sick…I stopped eating, I had insomnia and I was cramming information into my head that I haven’t used in years.  The more I remembered, the less I liked the thought of going back into it.  On the morning of my interview I was literally shaking from nerves and worry…

I arrived 15 minutes early to my interview, the surroundings were run down, there were holes in the walls and I was left to wait for 10 minute after my interview to be called.  I was already feeling a sense of trepidation.  However, my interview was a revelation.  Not only did I think and talk like an academic, I realised there and then, when I should have listened to my gut all week long, that going back into my old field just wasn’t for me.  When I asked my list of questions at the end of the interview, I received snippy, short answers and liked my interview panel even less than I had previously.  I always tell friends and colleagues, that when you’re going for interviews, you’re also interviewing your prospective managers and the ones in front of me were giving loud signals that there was a reason they needed new staff…

I walked out from the whole hideous experience utterly relieved and glad it was over.  I reflected almost immediately on how amazing it is to have the privilege to undertake a PhD, and be 7 months away from submission.  I was reminded that I am incredibly passionate about my topic, and the narrators whom I interviewed during my fieldwork. They are at the centre of my study and deserve to have their stories shared.  I returned home with renewed motivation for my study and dreaded awaiting the phone call from the employer (knowing full well I did not get the job).

Next week came, I had already written 3000 words of a paper I am presenting at a conference in October, and was working on an abstract for a conference in 2018.  I received the dreaded call to which they said, in a very sad and commiserating voice, “Hi, you didn’t get the post…” to which I replied without realising, “Oh, thank goodness!” in a very buoyant way.  Oops…

Since then I have been working more than I have in the last couple of years; with verve.  I feel ready to continue on, to take the next step in pursuing post doc, and remembering that if I desperately needed to, I could always go back…but I’d rather just keep pushing forward.

Thesis progress: 39,000 words.

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Two steps forward, one step, or half a mile back…ugh…

Well, here I am two days in and just 354 words written since the 500 I did on monday.  I had the whole day to write, but instead I just hid in my procrastinative state of netflix and carbs, hating myself and wanting to get out from under this f*cking thing.  In all honesty, I have no idea where to start on my results chapter.  I am in my third of 4 years and changed university and discipline after my 2nd year.  Essentially, I have got a passion for my newish discipline, but still don’t know enough about it (from a researchers point of view) to have half a clue where to begin on writing about my data.  To make matters worse, I am a structure kind of girl.  I like to know where, when, who, how and when I’m told that the format for my thesis and writing can be as non-traditional as I like, I just flounder, panic and have no b*stard idea where to start.  Yes I have my methodology and lit review chapters basically done, but flexibility in thesis writing is not helping me at all.  Help me Christian God!  Pagan gods!  Viking gods! Anyone?

I know this though, if I end up with major revisions after viva, I am sacking this sh*t…

Today is the DAY!!! NO MORE GODDAMN PhD DRUDGERY!

Welcome! Welcome!  All who have somehow stumbled upon this blog.  I am a 3rd year PhD student in the laborious write up phase of my arts and humanities based thesis (having written a measly 32,000 approx words of my 100,000 words) and up until today been feeling a constant emotional rigmarole of guilt, shame, more guilt, victimisation, hopelessness, and principally and my very personal favourite, procrastination and abject apathy for my subject.  I have maintained a slave/master relationship with, or under, my PhD for the last two years as well as a mindset of sheer drudgery in continuing on despite desperately wanting to sack it in almost every single day.  Gotta love a healthy attitude towards academia.

Today however, I had a revelation while listening to the wonderful podcast Death Sex and Money which has focused for the last two episode on student loan debt in the United States.  I listened to these horrendous tales of guilt, shame, living under the duress of debt and realised that was exactly how I felt about my PhD, about writing this f*cking thesis and genuinely feeling I would never submit it despite a March/April deadline for 2018.  In listening to one woman describe her relationship to her debt as slavery, I could totally equate; my PhD is my life, my life constantly revolves around it, it is constantly on my mind, whether pretending to work, resting or enjoying myself AND there genuinely feels like there is no end to it all!  However, when same woman stated that she was done living in this mindset and having it dictate every aspect of her life, by essentially putting every penny extra towards her student loan and working out a budget to pay it off quicker, I was like, “YES!!!!!  That is how I am going to get my thesis finished!!”  I am no longer going to live under it, but get on top of this b*stard, get it budgeted out so I can get it written and under control.  Regain my life, alleviate guilt, have some hope of finishing and actually see the number of words reduce to push me onto submission (of my thesis, not to my thesis).

In turn however, I wanted to mark my accountability and responsibility in this by writing an anonymous blog.  I will write every day until submitting.  I will update my word count (approx) and just generally feel better about getting this sh*t written and no longer feel like a total f*cking failure as I watch this privileged opportunity slip away because I am bored and tired of it all.  NO MORE!!!  NO MORE DRUDGERY! Today is the day!!  So please, join me in my journey of getting this thesis submitted by 31st March 2018 (OR SOONER!) and feel free to comment, complain, cry or just give me some encouragement.  It would be great to share it with you…