This last month has been a little hectic. I am a full time employee and a part time PhD student. I am not new to studying while working, in fact my two master’s degrees were completed in this way. I have found though that the workload (which is my creation, rather than anyone elses) is doubled. I want to do more reading, more writing and more critical thinking about subjects. I keep getting sidetracked by subjects that are almost the one I am looking at. All of that is fine – when I have the time.
I have just spent the last 6 weeks recruiting and training the latest batch of student ambassadors for the university. This involves talks, applications, assessment centres, then three Wednesdays of training to make sure they are knowledgeable and smiley enough to put in front of visitors. I have managed to get this done within working hours, so no late nights at work to distract me from studying in the evening. However, as there isn’t any thinking time during the day. There is always a task that needs doing that requires some brain power.
Now, many people may be thinking that this is what work is always like, but spend 5 minutes contemplating this. On a normal day I have a list of things I need to do and I work through them. There is time in between to have a chat to a colleague, someone drops in and so you stop and chat to them, you finish a task and there is some time to think about the next one, you have time to react to the unexpected and change your plans . There were days in the last 6 weeks when this didn’t happen, one task finished, straight onto the next one. It left me exhausted, a couple of nights I went to bed at about 8pm because “my brain had stopped braining”. (I actually said that one night when I ran out of words!)
This impacted on my PhD work. I could do the reading, that wasn’t a problem at all, but I had a massive case of writer’s block. I had the information in my head and in my notes, but could not get it onto a page in any sensible fashion. Luckily that time is done (until next time).
I have come to terms with this, it is alright to have a month where only reading happens. As long as there is some progress!
I now have my upgrade paper to begin.