Lonely

I am really getting stuck into my PhD, and this has made me realise how lonely it can be as a part-time distance student.

I have so many questions at the moment, and my husband is lovely and supportive (he brings me tubs of Ben and Jerrys!) But he will be the first to admit he can’t help me. My supervisor is fab when I see her but I am conscious she is very busy and so can take weeks to reply to an email. I must admit I have bombarded her with emails lately, possibly the reason why she is ignoring me!

It dawned on me to contact an old friend who studied on the same MA course as me. She is also undertaking a PhD, albeit in Australia, but her second supervisor is at Sheffield Uni. Chatting to Cassie has helped lots, so much so we decided to set up a Facebook group for other people from our course that have gone on to do a PhD.

I have put lots of questions on the group’s wall, hope they don’t mind!

Some days I am so excited about my research, and other days (like today) when I’m say with a demanding 3 month old baby, I feel completely overwhelmed and lonely.

Any tips to get through this phase?

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Crowdfunding

I’ve just submitted my research project on Hubub. I thought it best to breakdown my research into chunks for crowdfunding, so this project is for the project planning and meeting of focus groups (£2,000 max).

I am still sceptical about crowdfunding, but I am willing to try anything and it didn’t take too long to set up (mainly copying and pasting from previous funding bids). Has anyone used crowdfuding to fund their research, project or business? I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts.

Ellie has been asleep from 06:30-10:00 today which has been the perfect time for me to crack on with work (I swear sleep is overrated!) so I’m finished for the day. Off to the clinic to see how our chunky monkey is getting along and then we have an afternoon filled with snuggling on the sofa, reading, watching Christmas films and eating yummy treats 🙂

Have a good day!

Rosie x

Banging my head against a brick wall

Since I began my PhD I have been trying to get funding with no luck. I have been self funded for the past 18 months, which is doable (thanks to my lovely husband), but it has meant in the past that I have taken on paid work and had to put my PhD to once side purely because money wins.

Over the past few months I have submitted more funding applications and letters to charitable trusts. Before I used to get a flutter when I received a letter in the post from the funder, now my heart sinks as I can guess what it will say ‘thank you for your application but unfortunately…’ This doesn’t stop me, I think I am addicted to writing funding applications!

However, since Ellie’s arrival, my time is now precious and gone are the days of dedicating 8 solid hours to writing funding bids. Therefore I am conscious that the more time I spend on writing applications (that will probably be unsuccessful) the less time I have to actually work on my PhD.

Someone suggested the other day that I should consider crowd funding, and they showed eve a platform for crowd funding education. But this makes me think it would be an even bigger time waster with very little reward (please tell me if I’m wrong!)

Now that Ellie is here it is even more important that I receive funding as I will not be working as much. So it is a real big catch 22 at the moment, do I spend time trying to get funding for the next few years or do I crack on and hope an opportunity will arise? I’ve contacted all of my contacts in this field, so there is a chance that they may contact me if they hear of any suitable funding out there. But I feel I shouldn’t rely on this…

Sorry to sound so pessimistic. I love working on my PhD, but I think I can’t think of it as a job until I have funding. At the moment it just seems like a nice hobby.

I would love to hear about other peoples experiences of funding their PhD.

Rosie x

 

The Superwoman Fallacy

Morning!

I found an old article online which I thought I should share with you:

The superwoman fallacy what it really takes to be an academic and parent

Although this article is aimed at working in academia, it is also appropriate to business life too. The author, Melissa Terras, provides a refreshing account of managing work life and motherhood, and (contrary to popular belief) being good at both.

She emphasises that she is able to do this due to the flexibility of both her and her partner’s jobs, she often works from home and she can be flexible with her hours (sometimes working late in the evenings). This is very true for small business owners too, you decide your priorities and can manage your time wisely in order to meet deadlines; gone are the days of working in an office 9-5 Monday-Friday (huzzah!)

Having an open mind helps (as does a big cup of coffee and a tablet computer!) and realising it’s OK to take time out, in fact you will be more productive if you do; go back to the task when you are in a better frame of mind. 

This will be hard, especially if you are like me and used to routine, but it will be completely worth it when you (hopefully!) have a contented child and satisfied clients or academic supervisors!

I’ll revisit this post in a few months time to add my reflections…

Conflicting Opinions

Morning!

Hope you have all got nice things planned for the weekend, I think mine will be spent reading Sociology for Dummies and other similar books.

When I started my PhD last Autumn, I started working on a think piece about what form my research could take and how this fits into sociology; my supervisor was very happy with this and I was on a good track with my work. A couple of weeks ago I met with a consultant (who had helped me with my Master’s research) and he is keen on my research taking the form of RCTs, looking at comparing individual’s reactions to music. At the time I thought this sounded great and so I changed my proposal to incorporate this new way of thinking.

Fair to say my tutor is not happy with this at all, my proposal has now moved away from sociology and my original plan and think piece. Feeling a bit deflated today as I feel pulled from both directions! However, perhaps I need to remind myself that I am studying in sociology (steep learning curve as I haven’t studied in this field before) and I really should be doing what makes my University happy not trying to please clinical contacts.

Therefore today and the next few days will be spent reading about sociological theories, research methods, and the sociology of health in an attempt to get my mind to start thinking in a more sociological way. If you know of any good books in this area let me know!

For now I shall put this set back down to experience; I’ll spend the next 2 weeks (whilst my tutor is on holiday) working on getting my proposal back on track, and when meeting clinicians make sure to stick to my guns.

I fear this is easier said than done!!

Rosie

Time Spent Wisely

Today has been an odd day, filled with lots of procrastination but with golden moments in between. I somehow managed to write a coherent initial plan for my research study, read (and made useful notes) on interesting journal articles on agitation in dementia, whilst also spending mindless hours on Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and having an afternoon nap!

This is the complete opposite to my usual working pattern, starting at 7am and working solidly until hubby comes home at 4.30 (with lunch at some point in between ate at my computer).

Just as my body is starting to get used to lack of sleep at night, at moment I often wake up to go to the toilet, or to stretch my cramped leg, perhaps my brain is preparing itself for working in a different way.

I should think of these next few weeks as brain training! Once the baby is here gone will be the days of working 9 hours without disruption, and I therefore need to adapt to this change.

Thinking about this, I’ve realised that if I do work in small chunks then the time I spend on my PhD needs to be of a high quality. This takes me back to my post of a few weeks back – 500 words a day – where you aim to write 500 words a day on your research. Perhaps this sort of small target is what I should set myself, during this time my phone should be set to silent, and social media definitely banned. That way I can feel that my time is being spent wisely and I am moving forward with my research.

Has anyone else set themselves small targets like this? I would be interested to hear your suggestions.

I shall leave you with a picture of my spaniel, Bertie, he is rubbish at motivating me to do work as he is always asleep!

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