PhD-ing, or how to sing "I will survive" making it sound believable...

11 Jul 2012

Summer "break"

Summer is here already and I am planning on having some reading done, in order to be ready in September to start my research. Is 11th July and I have a month and a half ahead to read 4 books and more than 10 papers. And when I say "read" I don't mean sliding my eyes over the written words while thinking of how nice it would be to go swimming in the sea... I really mean reading. Good thing is that I don't really have much more to do this summer: no money means no trips, thus, home and alone: reading will be.

If I don't publish in here for a while, be sure I'm focused on my readings. Enjoy summer, those who can!

1 Jul 2012

Project defense

Well oh well... Here I am again, about to defense my project in front of a committee that has to decided whether it is accepted as it is and I can go on, it is accepted but it needs some amendments, or it is completely nonsense and I'd rather be selling olives in a market... Whatever their veredict, my part is done. The power point is finished, the talk has been rehearsed: bring them in, I'm ready!

However, I cannot stop that tinny voice inside of me telling me that I'm missing something, and that in the end it all will turn up wrong... Have you ever had that feeling too?

7 Jun 2012

Back on track

Aaaaand... there I go! Now that my research plan is written and being read by my supervisors (before I hand it in to the tribunal that has to accept it and give me green light to actually start my research) I can say it out loud: I'm back on track! I must admit it took me a while to find myself at home at the office, to feel like waking up in the morning to come to work, to actually find a reason for my existance! But philosophical issues aside, I think I must have overcome a sort of phase (grieving phase, if you like) in which I got to realise that my life status was about to change... A long-term relationship with my thesis is waiting for me, and I am scared as hell... Have you had a similar feeling?

15 May 2012

Brilliant ideas

I was hoping I could have a good idea of how to write my research plan (due in a month from today) while I was sleeping (and I can tell you one thing: I sleep a lot! Especially in spring, when my allergies are so strong that I have to take pills that make me sleep anywhere, anytime...). But sadly, nothing came to me while dreaming; no muse, no angel, no ghost with a unique revelation apart from one: "Get to work, you lazy sneezy woman!"

The problem is not that I don't know what to write: I am so tired of repeating the same things again and again that I almost recite it without any spirit on it. I know what I want to do, I know what my project looks like (or what do I want it to look like), but I cannot make it physically presentable in a 20-pages report that will have to be read by a committee and approved to go on with my research. I am completely blocked and words don't come to me.

Was it Picasso who said "when inspiration comes I want it to catch me working"? Does it really happen, that inspiration comes whilst working? Well, I guess that sitting in front of my computer and starting writing will be the way to find out...

11 Mar 2012

Getting organized

I know I am just at the very beginning of this trip, but I would like to start walking once I have found a way to organize my time and activities (the ones related to the PhD and the ones that are not related to it).

For instance, and this is not new at all, I cannot handle my inbox: I receive a mean of 30 emails a day (on weekends) and 60 emails a day on working days. Some of them are not urgent, but long ago I decided to try and reply those non-urgent emails asap, otherwise I end up with 30 non-urgent emails to reply at the end of the day... Some of them come from journals I am subscribed to, and they require some time to go through them in order to filter which articles may be of interest for my thesis. Well, you get the picture: I'm swimming (as you may be as well) among all those emails that come to my inbox drop by drop... and they keep me from focusing on whatever it is that I'm trying to do at that moment (most of the time, reading).

Some other virtual activities keep me distracted from my PhD duties, such as Facebook, my blogs, Twitter, the headlines... And some non-virtual ones occupy my mind a huge percentage of the day, such as studying the lines for the play I'm in, or studying the lyrics for the songs I sing with my band, or trying to keep in touch with friends and family (and here I mean 'real' touch, not Facebook/Skype/telephone touch).

I thought of writing To-Do lists, but I didn't succeed...

How do you work it out? What do you do to use your time efficiently and don't get completely absorbed by absolutely everything else but your thesis?

6 Mar 2012

Today my journey begins...

Here we go! My PhD has officially started and I am right now sitting in front of my laptop, trying to focus on a paper whilst two people are speaking loud, sitting less than 50 cm far from me. Will I survive? I'm used to work alone at home...

Ok, let's face it: is easy to procrastinate when you're alone at home. There are so many things to do at home: repainting the ceilings, removing spider webs, how long it's been since you last cleaned the oven? But still, it is easier to focus (after you've repainted the ceilings and removed all the spider webs and cleaned the oven... twice!) when you're completely alone at home, than when surrounded by other people. Am I right?

Have you ever shared an office? How have you survived?