Dotpoint #1 Thesis Deadline Day is July 26
If you’re wondering where I’ve been, the answer is busy. Busy, out bush for most of last week (sacred site clearances for gravel pits in the most glorious, remote outback places) and busy finishing my PhD thesis. The thesis needs to be in a finished state by 26 July, when I go to Canberra for a month to work intensively with my supervisor to prepare it for submission. I have about two-thirds of a chapter left to write.
Thus, my life has been wading through data about the practices that comprise joint management (co-management), what people say ‘doing’ joint management is, and what the organisation I’m studying has written in business plans, funding documents and reported about ‘joint management activities’. Yes, chapter 7 is all about the stuff that gets done (and classified) as joint management. Incidentally, if you click on the link, you’ll see a picture of Aboriginal Elder, Leslie Foster (Blackhat), with whom I spent a day last week for my consultations. Jason (the ranger) used to be the Parks & Wildlife Joint Management Pin up boy. Unfortunately for PWS, Jason no longer works for them. But hey, that’s what happens if you piss off your talented staff.
The important thing is this: I probably won’t be writing a lot of blog posts for the next few weeks. I’ll be glued to my thesis. So please be patient with me. Once it’s done, I’ll be able to go full steam ahead with the blog and the BIG IDEA once more.
Dotpoint #2 Writing a PhD Thesis is MUCH MUCH HARDER THAN CHILDBIRTH!
I am qualified to say this. I have given birth to two children. Doing a PhD is much harder than childbirth. Much, much harder.
For example: I took about 11 hours to give birth to Rhiannon. It took 2 hours to give birth to Ben – and I kept a moment-by-moment diary that even includes the cricket scores. However, it has taken 10 YEARS to give birth to my PhD thesis. That’s right: 10 years.
There are some striking parallels:
- In childbirth, nurses and doctors make you feel dumb and as remove your sense of control … So does a PhD!
- During childbirth, a whole lot of strangers peer into, poke and prod at your most intimate parts … when you do a PhD, your writing is the window into your mind, also poked, prodded and peered into by a whole lot of strangers (examiners).
- There are no instructions for childbirth (ignore the breath stuff – it’s bullshit. Your body just takes over) … There are no real instructions for a PhD – your data/supervisor/deepest fears take over.
Writing a PhD is only slightly less difficult than bringing home a new baby: sleepless nights, baby wanting your boob all the time, nappies to change, more boob, depression. Blech. That’s why there are 7 years between my children – I almost didn’t go back for more.
Dotpoint #3: I’ve Been Really Stuck and Depressed About the Thesis
Another reason I haven’t been writing is that I’ve been pretty down about the thesis (and a few other things). Stuck. Worried about the deadline. Feeling like it’s not good enough and won’t be the thesis I want it to be.
I’ve been having some great coaching from the guys over at Action Podcast for this. I have worked out a plan with the help of Sam & Paul, and I’ve had to change it slightly as last week, I had a HUGE bushwork week. But really, I’m just going to have to work through the plan and my depression and do the work when I have so little confidence in myself and the thesis I’m creating.
It’s not that I can’t write – I can write fine. It’s not that I don’t have enough data – I have so much data, I could write another thesis or three!
It’s that I’m worried that the thesis is not going to be intellectually sophisiticated enough. And I’m worried that there will be huge holes in my arguments. I’m relying on my supervisor to help me with these things. My complete and utter trust in these things is with my supervisor, which is at least some weight off my mind.
I have no idea how this will all turn out. Whether I’ll have to rewrite the whole thing. Whether the examiners will reject it and laugh.
And there is no real reason for me to do a PhD: no payrise, no tenure. No promotion. I will simply have some letters before or after my name.
I really wonder why I’m doing this to myself.
To prove I’m good enough, smart enough, worthy enough … to myself? My mother (I was never as good as the little girly-girls across the road when I was a child). My peers?
I often wonder if I am doomed to be eternally insecure about my entire existence. Everything that I am, have, my relationships. My world.
There’s times when I feel absolutely alone. Like it’s just me inside my brainbox and no one else can relate to what I’m doing. Something else I just have to live with.
Anyway, perhaps I’ll get to write another post later on in the week. If I’m lucky.