Random Post. Thesis Diaries part 1?

To be honest, I’m not sure why I’m writing this post today.  I woke up this morning, later than usual.  Rather than some good pre-spring sunlight shining through the curtains of my room, it’s dark.  For a moment, I thought it was still night time.  Still some whacky incomprehensible hour before 7am where most rational (if they aren’t working at job that requires being awake at that hour) people are still sleeping, dreaming of muffins and ugly shoes.  I dreamed ugly shoes onto my friend’s feet once, it was totally random, yet when I woke up the next morning that was the only part of the dream I could remember!  It was odd too, since my friend doesn’t even wear ugly shoes!  She has such great taste, maybe I was jealous? Though I like my shoes too, I suppose having small feet makes it a very limited choice when it comes to buying shoes.  But well, the mind works in mysterious ways.  And I’ve ever dreamed of muffins–dreaming of food is a big no-no, I greatly dislike waking up starved!  So I’ve somehow engineered my brain to think of other things.  Such as my dream last night.  I actually really enjoyed that dream, only, like always…those dreams have a knack of running away from me as soon as I open my eyes.

Nonetheless, after a week of sunshine last week and early wake ups in which I actually wanted to wake up and go and make my work station in the kitchen, sit down with oats for breakfast and start reading the academic literature I’ve got piled up, printed and stapled, I found myself wanting to lie in bed a little longer.  It was pouring was absolutely pouring outside, and the sky was white and grey with clouds, and even though I wasn’t tired, the bed was just too comfortable.

But I have work to do.

My life is pretty simple right now, the most dominant factor is that recently I began my postgraduate studies.  I am nutty enough to take on the P. H. D.  Three of the most daunting letters I’ve ever encountered in my life.  If you asked me four years ago when I started my undergraduate if I would ever think of doing my doctorate once I finished honours, I would have looked at you as though you have three eyes, tail feathers, and holding a chihuahua, and said, “Come again?”  It just wasn’t comprehensible.  I mean, I don’t mind studying, have always had an interest in knowing me, but asking me if I ever wanted to be an expert in the field….honestly, I don’t think and have never thought I’d have the balls for it.   Well, I don’t have balls actually, but you get the expression.

And this morning, while I lay there in bed, I found myself thinking back–you’re never too young to reflect on your life, but it sure as hell made me feel old!  I feel like I’m walking into the beginning of a crucible that will last three years.  And I thought, Omg what have you got yourself into?  The inner dialogue in my head this morning:

Brain:  Get up.

Me:  It’s warm.

Brain:  The shower has warm water.

Me:  The walk between here and there is too cold.

Brain:  But you’ll be cleannnnnn (so the brain entices)

Me:  Bed.  Warm.  I have everything I need.  Even reading materials here….(looks to the books on the bookshelf, looks to her phone).

Brain:  …..

Me:  (grins stupidly)

Brain:  Do you know what they call lying in bed for no reason other than to avoid getting up and doing some work?

Me:  A BREAK?!


Me: Geez no need to overact, clearly if we’re having this conversation, my brain is in the right place.  At least it functions effectively unlike some defective….

Brain: get up get up get up (wails)

Me: No.

Brain: yes.

Me: No.

Brain:  yes.  There’s hot chocolate if you get up.

Me: (Contemplates this, considers the time it takes to make hot chocolate, how warm the shower is….) Okay.

Brain:  SUCCESS.  Self sabotage averted, the host is finally moving, may her research grow in peace…

As you can see from the above, by the time I arrived here in my kitchen–for my room is a terrible study space, though I don’t think I will camp out at my kitchen table for the next three years to study since it would be impossible to concentrate for three days straight if I tried.  But for now it’s okay.  It’s a nicer, open space, more air that’s not as stale as that in my room (even when I open my window, my room is just so blah), and even if I look out the window–this is surprising so depressing to note–all I see are backyard fences, and dead trees (well sort of dead, the fig tree I can see out of the windows on my left has been planted in the garden for two years now, but due to some defect–haunted or otherwise though we suspect that it’s just bad soil–in the land, anything on that side of the house never grows.  Or at least, they live for a period of time, before after struggling for years, they give in and dry up.  Surprisingly though, the plum tree that has been trying to grow for eight years, has actually still kept marching on, even managing to give us a very sour, unripened (cut early by accident), plum last year.  We were so proud we cut it into three pieces and shared it among the three of us, shoving it in one shot.  I think one of us consumers actually spat it back out.  But well, at least we tried it.  And we’re still proud, hopefully this year will actually give us some sweet plums.)

Procrastination.  My biggest enemy.  And I have procrastinated again by writing this, flexing those writing muscles, glancing over at the academic literature, reading one page before coming back.  Nervously excited for the research, BUT HECK IT’S DAUNTING, and already, I see it becoming a huge mess.  However, my goal, for eternity, is to defeat procrastination and also, since I am always, and forever in a civil war with my stress, I plan to figure out a way push it off a cliff sometime.  Both procrastination and stress are big hurdles to jump over, but I figure, if you plan well, you’ll manage both well.  I don’t believe in stressing only.  I believe if you’re stressing or hating or angry at something, isn’t it better to deal with it first?  Even if it’s only for an hour, spend it reading a book, sitting where you’re comfortable, will make you feel better afterwards.  When I first started a month or so back, I stressed real bad (and still stressing) because it felt like I should know everything and already have a clear idea of how to do my project.  No one knows anything when they start their postgrad projects.  You are nothing, you are the ant walking across the football oval, you are a bee in a hive of others, you are one tea leaf in a teacup.  But the prospect that you’ll become an expert by the end, is daunting, and for someone like me, starting such a big project is stressful because my foresight in the future doesn’t extend further than a month.  For a while, I had some how managed to project my entire three years into a week, and of course, such a thing sent my stress skyrocketing, since it was all so overwhelming.  But once I started settling in at uni, meeting supervisors and hearing them tell me what I should do to really begin my research, and as I did start reading the literature, the schedule in my head started to de-warp and stretch, slowly flexing back to its natural shape–three years.  It’s both a long time, and also, not that long.  If you plan properly, you will pass in a breeze.  And since I am clearly only just beginning, I plan to plan well.

Of course, once I defeat procrastination and keep myself happy along with everything else that could upset the balance of ‘successfully completing this’ and ‘being a failure’.  

Things to do in the next week:

  1. Read.  I have to read the literature.  Figure out the holes that I need to fill.
  2. Write.  Academic writing is the bane of my writing existence.  I feel like I try to hard to sound sophisticated.  Academic Language is sadly not an inborn talent, but a time consuming, arduous task that makes me feel like an idiot and not worthy of writing!
    1. I wonder, major I should start a Dictionary section?
  3. Map. First time in a long time I’ll be mapping out my academics before writing.

For no.4 I have discovered I really don’t know how to make nice charts.  I don’t suppose anyone knows how to make an inverted smartart object/relationship hierarchy chart thing?  Actually, does anyone know a good program? I have Free Mind Mapping, and I’ve used smart art in Word.  But it’s just not the same, doesn’t really cover what I want.  

And that, dear readers is the end of a random rant/journal entry of my beginning experiences of my journey.  There’s actually a lot more to tell, and the above hasn’t done a very good job of telling, but I had to get it out.  I don’t know how many of these I’ll do over the next three years, but in a way, I think it’ll be important for me to document my journey.  And I guess I want to be truthful to myself, to express all the things that’ll pee me off, and at the same time, please me.

Hopefully if I do write Part 2, it’ll be more coherent and meaningful than this one.  This one, admittedly is a rant, and not a very good one either.


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