I have a beautiful family, and watching my children grow is the bomb-diggity. So when something takes your time, your energy, and your mental space away from something you love (i.e. time that could be with my family), it needs to be understood why and for what purpose.
I am a planner, and an over-thinker, but I did not over-think diving into a role which required full-time PhD study. I will openly admit I did not truly understand what a PhD entailed before I dove in, I didn’t know anyone with a PhD so had never seen someone in the midst of the process. I love to study, I enjoy analytical and critical thinking, so the act of engaging in a research degree is definitely my cup of tea. But daaamn doing a PhD full-time is hard work!
This first year of the PhD development is stretching, but doing it whilst also in the initial building phase of your professional skills, and career, while raising/parenting young children, and entering the housing market for the first time is a TRIP.
I am not a quitter, I finish what I start, and complaining about finding this hard is not necessarily a wise move strategically if in the future I want to look smarmy and wise and as though it was a breeze for me – but who wants to be that person? It is hard work, doing it with young kids at home is wild, but here I am so I might as well talk about it and maybe others can learn from the things that I find help me during this.
My work schedule has not allowed for dedicated study days for a while, but that will change now that the teaching semester has come to a close. So here is how I am coping at the moment *COPING MECHANISMS*
1. Leaving the office to do my PhD work. I am an approachable teacher, but this means I get approached a lot. Emails, door knocks, our office is a fairly busy space during semester and I can’t do the deep thinking and personal contemplation that I need to when in it. On the plus – My office is on campus, and it is a large, sprawling campus, with plenty of nooks and cafe spaces where I can plug in a laptop, or work in my workbook/read lit. Being away from my office minimises disturbances, and allows me to switch from work brain to student brain. This is definitely a winning strategy so far.
2. COFFEE. I love coffee. Especially Campos. Not just for the caffeine (although on some days that is a needed bonus to drinking it), I drink caffeinated and decaf, I just find it to be a hug in a cup! For me this is part of self-care, it is mine, the children can not even ask for a sip, I do not have to share it, it is for meeeeee.
3. Read, read, read. Anywhere, and everywhere. If I have a meeting and marking in the afternoon, then I will try and find an hour or two somewhere on campus to get some reading done. Even if it means sitting on the floor in the library, get it done. Again, this is near impossible during the teaching semester, but in the quiet times it is great.
When a commitment is literally years of your life, and none of us know how much time we have on this Earth, knowing motivation is important. This task takes hours and hours of my personal time, so being sure to know why you started is important. Setting goals, making time for self-care, and learning to say ‘no’ are the three things I am focused on at the moment.
Plus, IT IS ALMOST CHRISTMAS YASSSSSSSS!