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Once more into the breach...

I did think about calling this entry something original like 'back to school' but good old Hal actually sums up my feelings more aptly this year.

Partly as I had a horrible year last year. I'm not being (too) unprofessional in saying so. And I'm not unprofessional (or stupid) enough to go into exact details here.What I will say here is nothing I wouldn't say to my head of department: last year was horrible. Some things were nobody's fault, some things were, some things maybe I could have handled better, some things other people could have handled better. But at the end of the day, it was a horrendous year so instead of excitement I'm approaching this year with a sense of gathering dread. 

It's partly because I'm already so tired. This week has been a week when all 3 jobs and PhD are demanding my time, which has mean some long days and late nights. More importantly it's a reminder I have 3 jobs and a PhD. I teach, I work for Student Services and I work at a theatre, oh and occasionally do a PhD that's supposed to be full time. Mostly I don't resent it I don't even think about it-I have to do it and that's that.

But now and then it's brought to my attention just how much more I have to do compared to others. Compared to other PhD students with bursaries or rich parents or husbands. I don't. I already spent all the money I'm ever going to inherit funding my Masters-I mean that literally, if I ever want a wedding or a house it'll be out of my pocket. The conversation I had with my Mother when I was 21 was 'You can have an education or a wedding' and I'm happy with that choice (and given nobody is every likely to want to marry me it's a more sound investment). Of course it also meant I was paying for my PhD, which I do. Two years of painful jobs prior to starting and 3 years (or more) of supplementing that with part time work.

I don't resent it, I do envy those who have the luxury of working on their PhD actually full time. Those who can watch TV in the daytime (or any time come to mention that) see their friends or maintain a relationship. I also envy how much better their PhD's must be-if I had all of my time to dedicate to it I'd do so much better. As it is it'll just take longer or be a little bit compromised.

And again that's how it is, and if it's a choice between that and not at all I choose that. The only other thing that riles me about my situation is the people I don't understand. That don't understand I have 3 jobs and  a PhD, and that most of them involve unsociable hours. That don't understand that the reason I have 3 jobs is I have no money-would I work all 3 otherwise? I may be a lecturer but I'm paid by the hour and only really employed 6 months a year. I've lost friends over the last 2 years because they simply don't understand, and while on one hand they clearly weren't worth having it doesn't make that any more pleasant.

But back to the start of term, back to planning and marking and endless emails. And yes teaching. I do enjoy some of the teaching, when occasionally I get to teach something I'm passionate about or at least am knowledgeable about, and students respond. Then it's enjoyable. And I love my theatre job, there's nothing better after a horrible day of PhD or teaching than going there working with a group of lovely people.

Now if only I could find time to sleep all might be grand....


  1. Isn't it sad when people who are supposed to help you (and employed to do just that) end up not wanting to understand what yo are doing, why you are doing it and not supporting you. Your PhD will be as good or better than every other PhD awarded - the standard is a certain level and your defence of your thesis will get you there. Friends understand,, family understand, hold on to those friends and family for they are the people who matter and will help and support you in any way they can. Just remember your goal - often the harder the journey to the goal the more precious it becomes and, a PhD is most certainly a journey. I love you and if you ever need any help over anything at all you only have to


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