The life of a research student is just so, so …
I don’t know what to say. The concept of research is wonderful. The concept of getting a qualification tied in with research is also a good thought. But the journey of writing a coherent 60-100 thousand word thesis based on the research is not the funnest part of this journey. Over at the CURTIS blog Petra asks “how do you do all-the-things?”
I definitely am quite bad at all-the-things.
I am not juggling even some of things efficiently.
I try to though. I sometimes convince myself that I can do it all, and keep throwing all the balls (‘things’) into the air, one after the other. Sadly some gravitates to the ground and crashes.
There are those ‘things’ I just don’t bother picking up. I tell myself I will pick them up soon once I have some time to breathe. Some of the ‘things’ I pick up, brush the dirt off and try a bit of band-aid to mend the cracks and throw it up again – which is so sad really because the ‘thing’ can never be the same again, and I as the juggler have a guilt-ball in my gut growing and growing because I am not meeting my own expectations of life 😦 🙂
I keep telling myself it will pass. Soon I will look back on this time of utter madness of sleepless nights, back-aching hours at the desk, and the bursts-of-bottled-up-emotions, and then look at the bound final product of my research (God willing – inshaAllah) and wonder why I did not give it 100% sooner.
But you know what? That’s just how it is. Everything happens in good time.
Right now I am on a strict routine of writing. I’m off social media. I’m off any socializing for that matter – not that I have done much of it in the past 2+ years.
I’m off reading news from home – most of it only sends me down a depressing road anyways. The recent cruel murder of a fellow blogger back home hit me pretty badly … But let’s not dwell on that for now. I have mourned and am trying to move on.
All I do these days is write as much as I humanly could, sleep just about enough (3-4 quality hours), ensure the kids are fed, and work two days a week to earn a living. Blogging here and elsewhere is how I pretend to have a life 🙂
What works for me is an adrenaline rush. Visualizing the finish line helps. Visualizing as in bringing the line closer, within rigid deadlines.
That’s when 100% happens for me (if it ever does). I do fail often as in not getting enough writing done, but it’s OK to fail in that sometimes. I do feel sorry for myself often for the emotional downtime I have of coping with this rigid juggling act. The mothering-ball weighs the heaviest on my guilt. I often feel I’m failing as a mother…
Reminding myself that just another 3 months and I can be a bit relaxed helps me stay motivated – at least part of the time. It’s better than no motivation at all isn’t it? In the past months I have had weeks and weeks where my productivity was zero percent.
Today I am able to write this because I’m in a bit of a positive mind-frame having been comparatively productive in the past few weeks and met a strict deadline yesterday (one chapter completed and emailed – YAY). My thesis time-sheet shows I logged 57 hours 18 minutes of dedicated writing time in the last fortnight. It’s a record 🙂 and says much about how unproductive I have been in the past.