I’m not a fan of online self help. In fact I’m starting to wish the internet had fixed opening hours like 9-5 and closed early on Wednesdays. If it wasn’t available outside work I’d have an analogue life again; one with real books and paper. Maybe I’d write better if I had to think about every sentence, rather than throwing words at the screen, using cut and paste to chop – change – delete and start all over. I love words. I’m a Gutenberg whore. My kindle is full of freebies. When I travel the classics come with me but I download more than I finish. I’ve always had problems with boundaries. Good at setting them for other people; giving advice on what’s essential, optional or unneeded, I’m less adept at applying them to myself. My phd year has not ended well. Part-time doctorate is an oxymoron. Like Fun Run. I knew the health of my PhD was getting critical. I tried resuscitation but it wasn’t having it. Thesis Whisperer has been the one consolation.
Thesis Whisperer is an online support site for doctoral students. It’s every blogger’s dream. A success. The pieces are short, succinct and act as mirrors. In the depths of doctoral despair with a work pile larger than my motivation, I found the Valley of Shit. I’m not a fan of four letter words. Hate them on screen. If it was my piece I’d have added an e or found a different word all together. But somehow it didn’t matter. Thesis Whisperer is a bit Schadenfreude until you realise it’s become your reality. Someone somewhere has been where you are now; even in the depths of doctoral despair they have words of support, advice and comfort. I think about writing a piece but doubt they need another account of doctoral doom. Although when it comes to despair I am there at the top; my despondency cup runneth over. It’s true what everyone says. You will want to stop the pain now! Give up. Walk away. What real difference will it make? And you know even as you gather the D words – doom, despondency, despair, drugs – deep down you have to continue, you need to find a way to make this work, make sense of the text, because this is what it comes down to. 80,000 words to describe the journey; where you went, why, how you got there, what you took, what you found. Think of the phd as a travelogue to a new country. I love to travel.
There are two ways of dealing with detritus; sweep it under the carpet or get down and dirty with the mess it’s made of your life. Somewhere in all these pages of words was a moment when it fell into place and made sense. Once I had a direction, knew what I was doing and why. Now I just need to find it again.