It’s the start of school term and an entirely new season for me. In just one week I feel like i’ve been on the moon, land, and then paid a courtesy visit to the sun [yes, i’m alive to tell you the story]. I am loving every minute of it, and the great news is that it isn’t ending any time soon.
First it was enrolment, I.D card collection and all the queues one had to endure. My self-ordained task on the queue was to observe my new environment, cast glances at people and throw a smile or two at strangers whom I caught or caught me lightly staring *insert shrug*. I mean, what else can you do on a queue except, Stop & Stare 🙂 .Asides that, I paid rapt attention to my Blackberry.
Orientation/induction came and is now gradually wrapping up. I’ve been attending events and diligently combing the school website to make sure I don’t miss out on any important information. Just yesterday evening, I attended an event organised for PhD students to meet up and network. At first I sat in a corner holding my… you guessed right, Blackberry. Just as I was contemplating getting bold and walking up to someone or a group, a lady walked up to me and the chat began.
She was in her fourth year (part-time phd is 6 years) and recalled that when she started, the programme wasn’t as much fun as it is right now. She said it was a very lonely venture to embark on, as there were no opportunities to meet, wine and dine with your mates, especially fellows from other disciplines. This lady mentioned having a 22 year old daughter, who is her youngest, and I couldn’t resist asking her what motivated her to get on the programme. She simply had a passion for academia. Applause.
Everything i’ve read about undergoing a PhD programme always points to the fact that it is going to be lonely journey. Am I scared? Perhaps I should be, but i’m not. On my own, I’ve being figuring out cushioning mechanisms, just incase the journey is really as lonesome as my predecessors say it will be. Today, I found a #PhDchat community on Twitter. There is nothing as soothing as meeting people whose shoe sizes and tastes fit yours. Perhaps, just seeing someone’s lamentation about their research would be cathartic for me somewhere along the way 🙂 – knowing you are not in this alone.
A few minutes ago, I read a post on my school blog (written by one of the current PhD students), and she summed up the PhD experience in one article, likening it to a love relationship with your thesis.
She said Year One Term One is the honey moon phase where you say to your thesis, “I promise I will never get bored of you, i want to be with you dear thesis.” Year One Term Two comes and the romance goes on; “working on your thesis feels like being nestled in a cosy living room, with a log fire blazing away in the corner.” Year Two TermTime, “Reality has kicked in, and though you and your thesis are still going steady, there are jobs to be done too.” She said this is the phase where everything about your thesis drives you up the wall, including something as minute as the font type you are using. Year Two Summer, is the wake-up call phase. The author said your thesis will say to you, “i’m leaving you, unless you invest some serious time in our relationship.” She goes on to describe the phase thus, “Gone are the days of the cosy living room. Working on your thesis is like meeting up with a lover you’ve not seen in a long time. You’re trying to give it the attention it needs, but it takes time to get reacquainted. The conversation is slow, stilted, forced even. You write painfully slowly; a paragraph, sometimes half a paragraph, at a time.” The author stopped here, as that is the phase she is on currently.
The article sent my brain whizzing. I know her story doesn’t have to be my story, and her story isn’t bad at all. I may be at my honey moon phase, but I know my love for my research will not wax cold, because my motivation is beyond just bagging the degree and attaching the Doctor title to my sweet name :D.
Also, no matter how busy I get, i’ll try to keep blogging – even if it’s just a paragraph.
Thanks for starting this journey with me, and consistently visiting this blog… catch you soon.