Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Christmas

Hello All (-three of you)!

It's been a long month, let me tell you. December, when you are not a regular attending classes student always feels long. It used to feel interminable when I worked in retail, because December was, you guessed it, 30 days long and I usually worked every single one of those. If they could have figured out how to legally keep the store open for Christmas Day, they would have.

But as a PhD student, I've discovered, December feels even longer. Because instead of knowing that when January comes you will have virtually no hours to work, you realise that come January you will be just as busy as you are now. And you will probably have a deadline (as I do). Holidays and Christmas are slightly ruined when you are facing stress and looming word counts.

Which is why I am already excited about next year. I wrote 'hand in thesis' on my calendar for December 12th and I aim to stick to that. Which means that, leaving a day to pack, I can be on a plane for December 14th. Which is when my holidays will start. And they will go until January 14th, because after all of this I deserve a month off. I will not be working. I will not be online. I will not be job searching. I will be…I have no idea what I'll be doing but it won't involve writing or reading. It will probably involve a hell of a lot of television and maybe that computer game I've been saving.

But that is not this Christmas. That is 12 months away (11 months, 20 days) and this Christmas I have 8000 (7200) words to write before January 4th. And they aren't easy words. This is not the easy chapter I'm writing. This is not the 'this author said this and this author said that and this contributes this to the field'. No, no, this is the hard chapter. It's probably the hardest chapter of the thesis, in fact, or at least part of it is the hardest. And I have 11 days left to write it. I am taking tomorrow off by virtue of the fact that I am expected at a party for most of the day and then there is telly on. But come Boxing Day morning I have a word count to hit (today I am editing the 800 words I've written to make sure they make sense, otherwise there's no point in continuing along with it on the 26th).

Anyone tells you that doing a PhD is fun, ignore them. I can't take holidays anymore. I try to take a day off and I feel guilty and stressed for not doing work and then I do work anyways. I have to forcibly take myself away from the computer to stop. I am tired of looking at a computer screen. My wrists hurt from typing. My eyes hurt from looking. My back is killing me from sitting. And I have twelve more months of this.

Today I don't like being a PhD student, even if I still like my thesis.

Happy Christmas

Thursday, December 5, 2013

It's been a while

My fault, really. November was a hell of a month and just finding time to breathe was often difficult, much less blog post! I felt no one wanted to hear my crazed whinging anyways, am I right?

But it's December now and although things haven't quieted down completely, they are getting there (or will in another week or so). At which time I can start writing my PhD and posting about that!

Right now I'm trying to get the last of my obligations done in the department before holidays. Attempting to collect the rest of the field data I need. And also rereading a lot of books on subjects I don't understand anymore now than I did 12 months ago (oops!) I'm also working at the same time, so things are a little busy. Just 9 more days to go until term ends!

I also need another 5000 words or so of creative fiction to hit my target this year, and I have a sinking feeling I'll be writing that on December 31st. Better last minute than late, but I was hoping to have it done already.

Somehow in the last two months I found time (ha!) to go to Paris for 4 days. Even that was a whirlwind tour and I barely fit everything into the daylight hours available! I was out shortly after sunrise each morning and back after sunset each night in the freezing cold. But I managed a lot, which I always can when facing tight deadlines. :)