Hey everyone! I've got a little question that I'd like your feedback on. Since starting my PhD six months ago, I haven't been getting involved in uni stuff(groups, seminars, etc) and have just been keeping my head down. The thing is, I'm a little worried that I've isolated myself in doing this. I have a feeling I'm not the only one who has been in this boat. Does anyone else find themselves in this position? or experienced similiar worries in the past? I know that I can remedy this, and it's just a case of putting myself out there. It just becomes so easy to get in this position!
If you are happy enough getting on with your own work and not doing all the other 'uni related stuff' ... don't worry about it! However, if you are feeling isolated (and miserable), make time to catch up with friends and talk to people.
Isolation is part of the PhD process ... we've all been there, so you are not alone!
Hi eddi - I am in the same boat as you. I haven't 'put myself out there' at all aside from one social(ish) gathering early on and that was now about 6 months ago! My self-isolation was partly the result of feeling inadequate. Most of the postgrads I did meet were all living together and in their later years of the PhD, and I felt very out of place. It doesn't really bother me as I am local to non-uni friends and family, but sometimes I think it may be awkward if I do have to get into one of those situations again and everyones going "and who are you??!"!! I am trying to be more productively social and attend a few conferences this year.
Thanks mokey! It is so comforting to hear that I'm not the only one going through this. I have found that it's escalated, in that the more time that has passed without me getting involved or being seen in the department, the more I worry about actually attending anything! My lack of involvement has stemmed from feelings of inadequacy too. I have non-PhD friends/support, but haven't made any friends on my course. I just haven't gelled with any of the other PhD students, and wish that I had because I think I would feel more involved in PhD life if I had people to talk to who understood all the issues involved with doing a PhD.
Thanks for the encouragement BB! I guess I've been assuming that getting involved was requisite to the PhD, but if I can carry on just doing my work then I am quite happy to do that. I suppose I'm not the only PhD student who doesn't attend uni/dept seminars and lectures, and I've been worrying that I was! Cheers for reminding me that I'm not alone!
I agree - I only really have to show my face in the department because I am also doing sessional teaching, so I know more undergrad students than PhD ones! Anyway, this forum is about as close as I get to discussing my PhD with like-minded people. I also look quite young compared to the other students even though I am probably older than some, I know it's weird to say but I feel like a kid standing there while they discuss important stuff! Not to mention social events with other members of staff... I have avoided them too!
To be honest, I prefer to work from home. I'm surrounded by my books and my papers. I have food, tea etc. I can have 40 winks as the need arises and it gets me away from all the noise and distractions of the department (in which I know my productivity is low). So I'm happy to work from home. I do usually put in an appearance for seminars, meetings, printing and backing up my work once or twice a week. Otherwise, home is my best working environment!
I think this is all perfectly standard. It's pretty common to feel isolated, especially if you're doing a PhD which is wholly independent (ie no lab work, no office space). To address your fears--you're not actually obliged to get involved, though you may find that once you do start attending stuff, you'll feel more integrated and part of it all. If you feel more comfortable on your own, then that's okay. There are no stipulations regarding a PhD student's involvement in their department. Is this what you're concerned about? that you're expected to be going to these lectures/seminars, etc?
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