Signup date: 16 Apr 2008 at 4:16pm
Last login: 06 Jun 2008 at 5:07pm
Post count: 202
Well, it seems to me that one of the things about writing and doing a PhD at the same time is that I've heard many writers make comments along the lines of writing being a habit that you have to nurture by writing every day... and if you think about, doing a PhD has already got you into that habit!
Olivia - in the last couple of years I've come across several people doing PhDs which include creative writing (ie writing a play or novel) which is then submitted along with a thesis which relates to it. From what you've said, I take it you're not doing one - and I was just wondering why not? I would have thought it would be a great way to combine academia with something you obviously love. Or does your PhD involve a subject that you love even more?
Incidentally, there's a lady in my department doing her PhD at 71! I guess that's not about career prospects, but it's a joy to see someone undertaking it purely for the love of it. And every time I see her, she's always so happy! So it's never too late.
I was 33. After my MA, I had a long break from education and worked. I think it's better to do it this way, because having a few years of being in the non-academic world gives you time to think about what you're really interested in. If I had chosen the subject of my thesis in my 20s, I would have made a big mistake! These days, I'm so much more certain of what inspires me.
I find the same thing is true of drama groups, I joined one last year and we're doing A View from the Bridge (Arthur Miller), for which I'm in charge of properties. I'm no actor, but I love every minute hunting for props and getting involved with set design. You're right - it's great to get a bit of creativity going on in your life. I sometimes feel a bit guilty as it's time that could be used to work on my PhD... but then again it's also important to do something different.
It can be isolating, depending on your situation. I would recommend holding on to any nice bits of your life which have nothing to do with your PhD - being able to get away from it all when I need to has kept me sane!
But it's not all bad... there are some deeply satisfying moments when you meet personal deadlines or get good feedback etc. Basically, if someone were to ask me "Have you been happy? Was it worth it?", my answers would be "No, I've not been entirely happy. But yes, it's been worth it."
One more money saving thought - if you've got to buy any 2008 Christmas presents, might be best to do it gradually well in advance this year, rather than nearer to Christmas when they hike the prices up! It's so easy to forget and leave it to the last minute and spend a fortune - nearly always happens to me.
Sounds like, as well as everything else, you're emotionally drained and completely worn out. I can't pretend to know what will help you long term, but in the short term, it might be an idea to concentrate on doing the simple things that are under your control, like eating properly and getting enough sleep.
Because it seems that there are some things in your life that you can't do anything about, I think all you can do is separate them from those you can, (such as not avoiding your supervisor). Above all, try to be kind to yourself and be careful not to kick yourself when you're down.
It doesn't get much more serious than that. Again, tell your supervisor as soon as you can. Universities tend to be very good at making allowances for such things. You don't need any extra pressure and being honest won't look like weakness - it will look like you're a responsible person who is doing the best you can.
Don't worry. There's no reason on this earth that you should get told off. I'm sure your supervisor knows the difference between someone who is making excuses and someone who is genuinely having a rough time. Besides, he's there to help you not make things worse... and while he can't solve your family problems he can cut you some slack for a while. But not if he doesn't know what's going on. I think you should have a chat with him in person or on the phone. It's all too easy to misinterpret emails.
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