Skip to main content

Running in circles and treading water

So the first week of term teaching wise I’m glad to be back, have some routine and focus and some students (yes I really do like my students)

Phd wise not the greatest week I’ve had, nothing  has gone majorly wrong I just once again find myself running in circles. 

There are certain hoops to be jumped through, certain boxes to be ticked I appreciate however when it feels like all I’ve done since January is jump through hoops and tick boxes I start to question why? When arrangements for ticking boxes and fulfilling administrative requirements starts to actually stop me from doing real research as it did this week, I worry. 

The short, polite version of this story (that I can print here without fear of getting thrown out completely) is that following the first year we are asked to do a ‘transfer viva’ to progress from Mphil to PhD level. Now ignoring the fact that as I have an MA that involved sufficient research training the rules said I didn’t need said Mphil and could go straight to PhD and that other researchers in the school have done just that, the process of putting this together has been long and arduous. I spent the entire summer writing an introductory chapter which, while a useful exercise in academic writing and in expanding my theoretical understanding, will also have to be totally re-written before final submission as it was tailored to this process not the actual writing of the PhD.  Then there was the process of actually arranging a meeting for this viva which is where I lost it this week.
Now I’m not actually pointing any fingers of blame here-we’re all busy people and it is difficult to organise, and I’m used to people not paying attention to what I say because lets face it I’m a lowly PhD student. However I do resent that ultimately the scheduling of the meeting meant I almost lost out on going to the archives and conducting some research that is vital to the progression of the PhD. So basically a catch 22-you can’t progress without the viva (which you didn’t actually need) but by doing the viva you’re prevented from going and doing the research that will actually enable you to progress. 

While I’ve also been thinking about being stuck in PhD land this week I’ve also realised what doing a PhD does to friendships and relationships in your life this week and come to a similar conclusion. I’m old enough *cough* 27 *cough* that friends my age and a bit older I’ve accumulated are settled, in proper jobs, proper relationships by all accounts well on the way to being ‘grown ups’ (some more than others) other younger friends I’ve accumulated are still students, or in first jobs or generally working towards proper grown up land (again some more than others). The trouble is being a PhD student/lecturer I don’t fit into either category: the older more settled group don’t understand my lack of money, certainty about the future and odd working hours/patterns. The others understand the being broke, the odd working hours and general paralysing fear of not knowing what happens next, but don’t understand that for a certain amount of hours I’m ‘one of those proper grown ups’ with a fairly responsible job.  

 So just like the at present PhD you’re stuck,  you need both but neither understands everything and certainly neither group understands the other.  And sadly I see myself retreating further and further from my more settled friends because as the PhD progresses my life takes me further and further from theirs.


Popular posts from this blog

Theatre Fangirls (here we go again)

There's some arguments that come around and you think 'really? we're still talking about this?' but also you're not really surprised.

So when it was annoucned Tom Hiddleston was teaming up with Kenneth Brannagh for a production of Hamlet, it was inevitable that the cries of  'Silly fangirls' began. Once again we're confronted with comments that girls 'Only want to see it because he's in it' and 'Aren't interested in the play'.

And because I am a woman, therefore incapable of thinking of him other than in terms of his he above with a cat looking cute.

But just like Mr H there is both petting a cat, reading a newspaper and looking brooding, I'd like to point out that it's entierly possible to be interested in more than one aspect of a thing at the same time. And secondly I say so what the audience is just there to look at his cheekbones?

I don't have a horse in this race. I think Hiddles is a damn good ac…

Why Elliott & Harper is the company I've been waiting for

I can never resist a good (bad) pun in a title. As the first production from Elliott & Harper opens its doors for previews tonight, it’s worth pausing to think what this new production company means and why indeed we need more like it. Something of a ‘power house’ company formed of Marianne Elliott and Chris Harper. Both coming from the National Theatre- as Director and Producer respectively- there’s a real understanding of both the craft of theatre and the audiences that do- and don’t- come to it there. And theatre made by and produced by theatre people, in the commercial realm. That’s potentially very exciting.

Firstly, the act of two theatre people who really love theatre, really understand theatre both from an audience point of view and an artistic point of view. Secondly, one of the UK’s best directors striking out on her own to make theatre on her own terms. Thirdly, and you bet it’s an important factor, a woman artistic director. It’s all exciting, and has the potential, …

Holding the Man (some thoughts, not a review)

This isn't a 'review' because I saw this too close to the end of the run, but some plays make you want to put pen to paper regardless. It's also not a review, as this is filled with the kind of personal anecdotal nonsense that people tell me doesn't belong in my blog.

Well screw that, this is my blog, and for this one I'm writing it how I'd like.

A little background. For anyone who doesn't know me, I wrote my PhD in what essentially translates to 'Plays about AIDS'. There's a far more sophisticated description. But for the purposes of today, that about covers it. For anyone who wants more of that nonsense, my side blog is here

I started my PhD in September 2010. In June 2010 (June 21st, I looked it up. Yes I keep a list) I saw 'Holding the Man' for the first time. I actually had no idea what it was about going in, I was actually just a bit obsessed with Simon Burke at the time so booked to see him (what of it?). And so by accident …