I'm in the writing up stage, as those regulars who keep me sane know, and have at least another 6 mths to go. I'm really appreciative that I have the resources to be able to study full-time and concentrate on writing this thesis - I know it's a luxury.
But it's starting to get to me. I don't live near my uni so spend most days in my study, studying. I have a couple of nights and mornings off a week, and go to the gym. But apart from that, it's just me (and sometimes the dog), in this room. Another 6 mths seems like a very long time to keep doing this...
My partner keeps me sane and I chase up a couple of friends occasionally. To most of my 'friends' though, it's like I've fallen off the edge of the world, and I haven't heard from them in mths. And I don't contact them, thinking that I need to stay here and study anyway - and am also slightly resentful that they haven't contacted me. However I try and build in things to look forward to, getting out of this tinpot town and visiting friends in a decent, large city a few hours away.
I'm starting to really look forward to going back to a 9-5 job, for the interaction, and also because I won't have to study all the time! And there will be a separation between work and home, even if I do decide to write journal articles etc after this thesis, while I'm in a paid job. And when I go back to a 'real' job with an OK income, I'm going to throw out all these student clothes I live in and buy some nice new ones!!! Am getting to hate shapeless jeans!!
Am not sure what I want people to say really...am not depressed, just starting to be over this...and needed to shout out to the world...and don't tell me to take more breaks, this is how I work. Maybe being sick of this lifestyle will motivate me to work harder, so I can move on....So, don't know really, but thanks all.
I'm not doing a PhD, but I recently finished writing up for my Masters and I worked pretty much like you, all day every day, not seeing anybody, and I really did start to go a bit stir-crazy, to the point where going to the supermarket to buy bread and milk seemed like a fun day out lol ;)
I can really empathise with what you're going through, and the way that I motivated myself was by thinking about how six months (I was about halfway through my course) was not a great deal of time in the grand scheme of things, i.e. the rest of my life, and I imagined that if I could just get through those six months, I'd be in such a better place and I'd be able to go and achieve anything that I wanted.
I also tried to view each day as an individual achievement, and each day I would tell myself that I was going to do my best that day, and I set myself targets to achieve and things like that, and I set myself a fixed routine of work that became so ingrained that it was just a habit, and I knew that if I just continued to do the work each day, I would eventually come to the end, which was a positive thought. I just had get on with it and do the time, and I knew if I just did that then at some point it would be over, and I guess that's what kept me going - that and the thought that six months of your life isn't really that much to sacrifice in order to achieve your dreams :)
Hope that helps a little, good luck with your work :)
Hi, I so hear you! I'm into the second year now, but seem to have spent the last 5 years sitting here (or in my old house) but either way sitting at this desk with the computer in front of me just working, working, working. I so envy friends who have the 9-5 (or shifts - I don't care) who go out, do their work, come home and then do whatever they want, go shopping, do their hair, get a bath, whatever, without the guilt! I dream of a weekend, a couple of days without being linked in some way to work. It is separate from their home lives and I think that that is where we have problems - no matter where we go in the house it is 'there', lurking, piling on the guilt that we're watching tv or chilling lol.
I am married with 3 kids and I know at times they resent it, my little one was telling my mum apparently that mummy works all the time and won't play very much. To be fair I started uni when she was 11 months old so its all she's ever known - god, what kind of mum does that make me?
I still have at least 2 years of this ahead of me (arggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh) and the sole thing that keeps me going is that I'm doing this so that my family can hopefully have a better life. When the older two were little I was in and out of deadend jobs - selling double glazing, asda checkouts, a tanning salon etc - and I wanted something better with the chance to earn decent money beyond the minimum wage that was all I was fit for. But then I think in 2 years (as I finish) my son goes to uni, my daughter will follow the year after, so is it worth it? Yes, it means that maybe I'll have a job where i can help them out, but I think that I need to view this as more for me - I don't know. But I do know how you feel. This is so isolating, so lonely - me and the dogs sit here for hour after hour, day after day, with no end in sight. My friends too never ring - I hope they will eventually, but most can't understand why I don't do 'lunch' 5 days a week and go up to town - nobody apart from you guys here and the people at uni understand that this isn't something that you can do when you feel like it, and that it really is a f/t job with incredible pressures. I've been called a perpetual student and asked when I'm getting a job as though this is dossing - it hurts, but they don't understand and I can't expect them to I guess.....
Sorry, this has turned less from support and more to a rant about me too - but I know how you feel, this will be over soon and behind us, and we have th rest of our lives to benefit from the sacrifices we make now xxx
======= Date Modified 17 Oct 2009 12:53:38 =======
Your post has made me realise that there is another way of life! Luckily most of my frends understand, and are encouraging, they're mostly arty types, and all of them have either made, or are still making, big sacrifces to get where they want to be, and they know how right this is for me. My closest buddy in this is an artist and she makes me feel fortunate because my chances of a decent wage and regular life style are higher than hers - although she thinks what I'm doing is harder than her work (although who can really tell about that?). Our shared pov status also means we arrage to do things like walking in the park, watching DVDs or going to Orange cinema nights - we share a friend who is just setting up a photography business and is also poor, so I guess that makes me lucky. However! I still feel left out and deprived in a bigger sense, for example, I'm celebrating another friend's birthday tonight with a meal and clubbing and it's going to mean me spending a RIDICULOUS proportion of my monthly budget, but I can't miss it; and I can't go on days out and holidays with my rich friends (that's how I think of them, although they're not really). I don't mind so much about clothes and food, I always seem to manage that - but I'd just like to have enough money, or more than enough so I can feel secure and plan ahead, have some savings, and more freedom about where I live. I get worried that I'm getting used to this pauper lifestyle, and becoming accepting of it when I deserve better.
One of my friendships has ended recently, because she just didn't get why I was doing this, and kept talking down to me about me being an eternal student - not having a full time job and being poor - making snide comments etc. I'm glad though, sometimes people you think of as friends should not really be in your life.
I would love to have somewhere other than my living room to work, liesure and work are blurred in my life; I can't wait until I have an office or a study in my home. So, yes, I feel the same way, but this is temporary, and one day we will have a good wage and an office! Then we will probably be totally overworked academics snowed under with admin and looking back at this time as the good old days - without even a forum to cheer us up! Well I try and think that, and too make the most of the comparative freedom I have.
I have no words of wisdom for you to get you through these months, except just to say i'm sorry you're feeling like this, it really is rubbish and i'm thinking of you!
As others have said, friends who are like that and don't even try to make the effort are not true friends! I have realized this in the past and more recently, even with people I thought would be in my life forever just couldnt understand and thought i was ignoring them or not bothered. Eventually I just decided that if they could be like this then did I really want them in my life. The people you phone up/email/text and just say "i'm sorry, lost in PhD land, thinking of you and hope all is well", and get back to you saying no problem are the ones that matter, and i'm sure some of them will be like that, and even if its now, next week or in six months i'm sure they'll understand!?
I had one friend, who recently I have decided just isn't worth it, and it has hurt so much and made me feel very guilty but I have come to conclusion that she was a "friend for a season/reason" and not one for life, and therefore it is just how things are. She has just qualified as a primary teacher, and was always complaining of how BUSY she was, except still managed nights out at weekends etc and could never understand when i wouldnt go out, cos i was in lab 7days per week! and then just likes to get in touch when its the school holidays and tell me she is now free to catch up whenever I have time - with again no understanding that holidays don't exist for me! and then if i said, right i'm making time lets go and have day together she would say I only have an hour....! and then be funny with me anyway, so now i've given up and I dont' care!
Sorry, i'm now having my own personal rant aswell! :(
6 months seems like such a long time but really in the grand scheme of life it will fly by - well, maybe not fly, but the sense of personal achievement when you are done will be very worth it. and when you go back to 9-5, even if in public sector and not academia, you will appreciate the working hours and social life more than you ever could before. Even if you never use PhD for your career, it will never do you any harm and you will no once and for all that you have been awarded the highest academic merit you could possibly achieve - that is something you can never have taken away from you! If you're like me and really just want to be able to say "yeah, i'm not so stupid after all" and can have some faith in your intellectual ability then 6 months I guess is the price to pay for having that feeling and knowledge for the rest of your life! ;-)
I know the feeling of the shapeless jeans etc! my wardrobe has become miserable in the last few years! maybe you could start rewarding yourself for a good fortnight/months work with a nice new funky outfit, so that when you submit you have lots of lovely new clothes to wear to go celebrating :) and it will be something to look forward to at teh end of each chunk of time - maybe even involve your friends and meet them for lunch and take them shopping with you? I know time is of the essence but knowing you have that to look forward to and some social time might spur you through each chapter?
Keep smiling, :p
Sue, I am in a very similar position to yours. It's got to the point where, when I do make a trip into the city I actually enjoy seeing such a variety of people on the trains and buses and street and dream of what it would be like to work a 5-day week and have a guiltless weekend off. In the beginning, and even for the first couple of years, I was still able to romanticize my position... all that has stopped now (that writing has become increasingly harder and money has run out) and I am desperate for a change of lifestyle. I've also been putting the maintenance of my friendships on hold but thankfully my friends are all wonderfully supportive. All I can say is, you are most definitely not alone and maybe we have to get to this point before we are actually able to make the final push to expel this thing from our lives and move on to the next phase. I'm sending you perseverance vibes- we will get there soon! (up)
Thank you everyone!!
Gosh I'd be lost without this forum!! Your advice has helped me enormously, and yeh, I know that 6 mths isn't long, and when I'm back in the rat race I'll probably look back on this period fondly...and yes, I will have the satisfaction of knowing that I'm smart and have achieved this, for the rest of my life. Hoh boy, I'm going to use that title every chance I get!! I don't understand people who don't call themselves 'dr', out of some kind of humility - sod that!
Fricklesnarp, you're right about goals. I do make 'to do' lists, but they tend to be short eg write chapter 6, edit chapter 6. So I might break these tasks down a bit more, so I can see I'm getting somewhere. And yep, like you and Kaymoy, I get excited seeing people when I go out! I only tolerate exercise, but go the gym just for the humanity. And thanks everyone for the other suggestions too, will take these on board.
Stressed and Kaymoy, nice to know you're in the same position and also not having a lot of fun (!). It's helped knowing that you're both there, working away in solitude, with maybe a dog for company. Yes, we'll all get there, but what a journey it is...thanks again.
I'm at the same stage too, and feeling all the same concerns, All the responses have helped, and thanks Sue for starting this thread.
I try to remember that being able to work in my office and organise my own schedule is a luxury, rather than a prison sentence. But I do try to make sure I get out of the house everyday, either to the gym, to the shop to buy milk, or just walk around the block - I now know all the shop staff to chat too.
wondering what to contribute to this...
I wish I was.
like other 24 yr olds who go out, shop, eat out...
who dont have to feel too tired to cook and not be able to buy something they *reallllllly* want to eat from a take away...
who dont have to stay in a hall of residence where they cant even get anyone over,, and where their fridge space is a plastic box with a padlock.
I am also a 24 yr old who's furiously multi tasking...
who feels *overjoyed* and *elated* when the hard work does pay off...
when little lines accumulate on the CV, with the complete support and encouragement of all around her..
I guess it doenst have to be this kind of a price to pay, but so it seems it is. Sometimes, I feel so awful when I want to buy something for myself but cant, just CANT.
At least I dont have a partner or a child through this, I cannot even imagine how I would have managed. But a family is aslo sustaining I guess, and I realise that absruptly when after a hard day's work, everyone esle goes home and watches some silly tele prog with their families (or even groans about responsibilities eating into own space) and I come home to an empty room.
Gosh, this almost sounds dramatic!
======= Date Modified 18 Oct 2009 23:36:04 =======
Sorry to hear you are feeling down..I have similar days, but from my experience the only thing that gets me going is the fact that there will be no end to this (sometimes) writing marathon if I never finish. So that gets me going and keeps me awake at night, hence being on nocturnal thread so many times.
Keep the end goal:-) in mind and maybe try to have a reward at the end of a day or week to get out of this misery. I forgot abt writing today and went shopping with kids (not the easiest) and it was a great relaxing outdoor experience and surprisingly I even wrote a para in between domestics, which I never thought I could do:$. reading other books-even trashy novels seem to help me in keeping the enthusiasm about writing and the key for me is the variety. These activities should be included (taking a walk after finishing morning/afternoon writing) to make a more meaningful life amongst this writing madness.
always remember or even have a banner on the wall of the end date or at least a month and year. countdown to the d-day might help (up)
Thanks for your comments. I'm not down so much as just over this!! Altho it does get lonely...and yes, I do some of the things you mention - I take walks with the dog, I reward myself on Fridays with nice food and wine with the partner, and am counting down to when I want to have my first draft done - only 63 days and am not even half way yet! So, better crack on...the Fear will keep me going.
Thanks again, and hope your work is going well.
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