Crabs and Cautious Optimism

Come along with me, misery loves company,
You’re welcome at the home of the blues.

Johnny Cash, Home of the Blues

It’s no secret that the work of a PhD is heavy going. As candidates, we face poor health, financial drain, and the possibility of failure as standard risks for undertaking this type of project. I think everybody begins with a sense of cautious optimism, of which most are disabused by around the end of semester one. But what’s wrong with a little optimism? Continue reading “Crabs and Cautious Optimism”

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The Value of Vulnerability

“Cheer up, Dad. Did you know the Chinese use the same word for ‘crisis’ as they do for ‘opportunity’?”
“Yes. Crisistunity.”
Lisa and Homer, ‘Fear of Flying’, The Simpsons
How do I begin to speak about what my viva was like? I passed it, and that should be enough, but for a month now I have been in perfect agony about what that pass has meant, the qualifiers placed upon it, what mis-steps I may have made that precluded me from an even passier pass.

Of Late Tension and Lost Trainers

“I know that you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?”

“I think you can in Europe.”

Chastity & Bianca, 10 Things I Hate About You

How do you know if you’re stressed? Scratch that, of course you’re stressed all the time; it’s 2017 and we breathe stress like oxygen. How do you know if your stress levels are above usual, excessive, prohibitive?

Continue reading “Of Late Tension and Lost Trainers”

Confident Conferences, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Public Speaking

Proper words in proper places, make the true definition of a style.

Jonathan Swift, Letter to a Young Clergyman

 

Full and lethargic from Christmas overindulgence, I am preparing to go back to work tomorrow. Specifically, I am preparing to get a 5.30 train to go to Oxford to deliver a paper to the British Society of Eighteenth Century Studies annual conference. Continue reading “Confident Conferences, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Public Speaking”

Managing Multitasking

Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.

Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation

A PhD is not just the thesis. Ask any PhD student at any stage – except, perhaps, for the month or so leading up to their viva – and they’ll tell you that they’d love to spend more time writing the thesis, but they’ve got an article to finish, a conference paper to check, a book review to complete, and they’re behind on their teaching hours. Continue reading “Managing Multitasking”