During my PhD programme, I’ve gradually become less sociable – and it’s getting worse towards the final year. I know a couple of PhDs who worked in a lab for fixed hours, were very punctual, stopped work at 5:00 p.m. and went out to socialise or watch sport. I am quite the opposite.
I work from home, shut myself in a room when I’m in writing mode, turn my phone off for most of the day, talk almost only with my partner, and receive an invitation once a month to have lunch with my friend who is an academic. I maybe see my PhD colleagues every few months, and I see my supervisor once a month and occasionally have coffee with her. This has been my social life for the past two years and eight months.
But there is definitely an upside to this limited social life (as well as the obvious downsides).
- focus on my work;
- have time to do my own things when I want;
- maintain a quiet environment being alone during the day; and
- feel very excited when I arrange to meet someone and prepare for it.
On Tuesday, I had some proper social time – lunch with my scholarly friend. He is currently editing a book on economics and learning Italian and Japanese. We discussed difficulties in the editing process and what it’s like to learn a Romance language and Japanese at the same time. His way of telling a story always amuses me – well structured, described and analysed in simple sentences. He is my role model as an authentic academic.
Thursday was my supervision day on campus. I put my laptop, research notebooks, a bottle of water and biscuits into my tote bag, and first went to the library to print out all necessary documents. I had received feedback from all three of my supervisors by that morning. The sheer volume of their feedback (comments and papers for reading) always overwhelms me, but I’m lucky and very grateful to have three supervisors. This is the reason my progress has been much smoother than I’d expected.
My primary supervisor has moved to a different room and my secondary supervisor is soon leaving her current position. My third supervisor now works half the term in the UK and the other half in Germany. Things are changing. We started to discuss who my examiners could be and when my viva might take place. I can’t believe how fast the time has flown by.
My goals for the next supervision day are to complete the findings and discussion chapters. My supervisors want me to send them the drafts by 15 October, but my personal deadline is 11 October. I really want to meet these goals before my birthday weekend, as I already have my birthday well planned!
Overall, this week has been relaxing. I’ll switch my brain back into writing mode tomorrow.
My achievements in week 140
- Received lots of advice and suggestions for my next revision.
- Had an in-depth discussion of my drafts with my supervisors.
Goals for week 141
- Revise my findings chapter.