I’ve graduated, and am an official Doctor now (no, not that kind of doctor…..). I’m proud that I can use that title, and I have already used it on purpose (renting a car!) as well as by mistake. To tell a bit more about the latter, I blame the nerves. When my dentist’s assistant asked me whether it was Ms or a Mrs, I giggled ‘Well, actually, it’s Dr…!’ because I hadn’t been to the dentist in 7 years and was scared as hell. I was blushing when they called my name in the waiting room… “Dr Wolferink!?”. Slightly embarrassed I got up and ran into the treatment room. well, slighty embarrassed, and a bit proud. OK, very proud, but also still embarrassed, because who else but me (and my parents) really give a damn about that title?
This Monday I had the honour and privilege to discuss my thesis with two established academics who had read my thesis. My thesis, my ideas, and two people I value have read it. Of course it was their work to do so, and part of the defense process, but still, this very substantial book that I have written is not something you put on your nightstand to read. That’s also why I want to publish smaller, readable articles, so that parts of my research outcomes (and recommendations) will make it ‘out there’, to be discussed and perhaps even taken on-board. Continue reading “Passed, with minor corrections!”
You wouldn’t believe how many people ask me whether I’m thinking about ‘going home’ with the whole Brexit debate going on. And my answer, every single time, is “Yes, of course, every day I am thinking about going home, to Darfield, you know, where we live…”. Continue reading ““So, are you going home now?” – Looking for a job in pre-Brexit UK”
Sometimes it’s difficult to focus. We live in a time with many (digital) distractions that we can use with the click of a mouse. And if we can resist that, there’s always some laundry, groceries or cleaning to do. And it’s not just that: sometimes wanting to do things right can be debilitating: where to start if you want to avoid making mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, I work hard, I always meet my deadlines, and always get things done, but it can take a lot of willpower and motivation to do so and to stay on track. And I don’t mind doing that, because I’m passionate about my work, what I want to achieve with it, and about my future career, but it’s still difficult, especially when working on something for which you are the sole project manager: a PhD. And to add to that: FROM HOME. ALONE.
It is done. I have handed in my PhD thesis this morning. Next to me on the desk here are two spare copies I have. One for myself, and one for a potential mock viva (even though I’m not quite sure yet whether I want one). A fellow PhD student asked if he could have a look, and he went through the front matter, pausing at the final paragraph in my acknowledgements.
In this paragraph I thanked my undergraduate careers adviser who told me, at the age of 25, that I would be ‘far too old to be accepted into a PhD programme’ when I told him about the potential career paths and options I wanted to pursue.
“Well, if you have that kind of bias you won’t be able to conduct a truly objective research project”.
It was said to me today, online, when talking about research on (un)employment, the work-ethic and how I thought that we should find new ways of looking at work in relation to citizenship. I wanted to reply with “well, I don’t really believe in objective research”, but I didn’t want to make that kind of unnuanced statement without having to engage in a full-blown discussion about how I view my research practice when I have actual work to do, such as finishing that paper and getting back to my actual thesis.
When people ask me what I’m doing ‘for a living’ I tell them about my PhD, as that is what I’m doing with my life at the moment. Some people know what it is, others don’t, but not many people know what you can do after this, or wonder specifically what I am going to do after this. And I am one of those people.
Finally finally finally I have gotten to the data chapters of my doctoral thesis. And it is amazing. I had been struggling a bit, I will be honest with you, with the official obligatory sections such as the methodology and the literature review, which are still in need of some serious work. It’s not that I do not want to deal with that, that I don’t see the value of it. Of course, without grounding my research properly it will have no basis, no footing, but in the end, what I want to do with my thesis, or through my thesis, is to tell stories, to tell stories of unemployment and volunteering.
Yesterday I finished my second chapter, which is the third chapter that I have finished (I don’t do linear). After submitting it was time for me to think about the next chapter, because that’s how things work. Luckily I have multiple chapters still to write, so I’m not out of work just yet, but, what is more, I also have another kind of chapter to start thinking about: the chapter that comes after finishing my PhD. What do I want to do next?
I have to, at one point, tell my fieldwork organisation that I’m leaving them. And I am dreading the moment already. In fact, I have postponed it for as long as I can. Ideally, fieldwork is finished in the 2nd year of the 3 year PhD process. However, since it took me a while to figure out what I should, could and wanted to focus on after collecting data for a while, I felt it was necessary (which was supported by my supervisors) to keep on going for just a bit longer, 4 hours per week, to get some extra data to support my argument. Continue reading “The end is near… And that’s difficult. How to get out of the field without any feelings of guilt?”