When the PhD takes over your life

by Anna Blanch on March 1, 2012

This is a post about following my own advice, or rather how I haven’t been lately!

Between the light lifting, the sun is rising its weary head a little earlier.

Sleep is finding its own pattern once again. Things have felt a little brighter.

I haven’t really been following my own advice very well lately. I still recommend things we wish we’d known before starting graduate school even though I’ve been learning quite a few new lessons lately:

  • Work must happen in its own time even as you must exercise discipline.  A PhD is a marathon-like endeavour. It is the consistency of effort that builds momentum – as if droplet by droplet!
  • Thesis Roadmaps are not like your usual roadmap. A Thesis roadmap is one that is being written and rewritten all the time. This is not just okay, this is preferable.
  • Though work is best done daily (at least an hour of solid writing a day), progress is calming and threatens to overwhelm like Murphy’s great tonne of bricks.
  • You write better when you eat properly. I have a tendency to fail to eat when I’m under stress or working very hard. I just forget. This doesn’t fuel you to think and write well! If you need to, set an alarm to make sure you eat!
  • Exercise will make you feel better and help you think. I’ve struggled to get out into the scottish cold winter’s air and I know that my well-being has suffered because of it!
  • Ask for encouragement when you need it. Ask for help when you need it.

I still maintain that the way to finish a Phd is to put one foot in front of another, one word and then another – word after word, sentence after sentence

Okay, so I know I’ve been writing alot about the PhD this week – hence the title – but alot of what I’ve been talking about applies to reaching any goal. With the aim of being positive about life’s challenges as opportunities I made a list. Maybe you’d like to make one too!

Five things I’m doing before July ends:
1. finishing my PhD dissertation!
2. moving from Scotland to Australia!
3. Speaking at conferences on two continents!
4. moving into a house with my little sister!
5. swimming in the sea on three continents!

Name me five things in the comments….they could be your five favourite movies, books, songs, countries, languages!

Whatever you like!


Related posts:

  • http://thingsfindothinks.com/ Findo

    5 things I want to get done today:

    1. Work on a song I’m writing
    2. Go to the gym
    3. Learn some Don Giovanni
    4. Eat some ice-cream
    5. Enjoy the sunshine

    • http://www.goannatree.com/ Goannatree

      what a good list!  how did you get on with these?

      • http://thingsfindothinks.com/ Findo

        surprisingly, I forgot to have some ice-cream!

        • http://www.goannatree.com/ Goannatree

           oh dear me! you’ll have to rectify that oversight!

  • http://literaryworkshop.wordpress.com/ Steve Schuler

    Five books to read or reread, just because I want to and not because I’m writing about them or teaching from them:

    John Kennedy Toole’s _Confederacy of Dunces_
    C. S. Lewis _Studies in Words_
    Mel Bartholomew _All New Square Foot Gardening_
    Charles Williams _All Hallows Eve_
    Peter Folonsbee _Make a Joint Stool from a Tree_

    Here’s to eclectic interests!

    • http://www.goannatree.com/ Goannatree

       awesome list….and i like the caveat about reading them because you want to….;)

  • http://twitter.com/Audiogeist Sharon Harriott

    You’re a classic case,don’t worry! It’s so easy to give advice, especially to others; but so hard to follow your own. My five things id like to happen soon:

    1. to see my sister deliver twin nephews safely
    2. to see my brother settled
    3. to sink my toes in to warm, sunkissed sand VERY soon
    4. to really get disciplined and get that poem a day written!!
    5. to perfect lemon meringue pie

    • http://www.goannatree.com/ Goannatree

       what an awesome list! I love lemon meringue pie! and you know you can always come visit me in australia right?

  • @lizdobsonUoH

    Lovely post – I really can relate. I’m part-time (started in 2005), last holiday was in 2009 (and I took PhD work… and did it). 

    1. submit my PhD thesis before May
    2. spend some time with my very neglected friends and family 
    3. read a book (I mean fiction)
    4. play my violin again
    5. spend much needed time with my fiance (preferably abroad)

    You’re spot on with those lessons by the way. One step at a time covers the distance. 

    • http://www.goannatree.com/ Goannatree

       Wow Liz, submitting is going to be awesome for you!!! Like Steve above, I think reading something that isn’t work related is something most PhD writers relish! so what books are on your list? anyone fun on that list of travel destinations? you know how i love travel planning!!

  • Pingback: 2012 in review: posts of March — Goannatree()

Previous post:

Next post: