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!”
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.
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.
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?”
My second year of PhD-ing is coming to an end, and…. I am still here.Yay!
Sometimes it feels like I’m barely here, other times it is just like this is the way it should be and that I am right on track. Continue reading “Progress Report – I am still here!”
There are loads of blogs on the internet. In fact, the entire internet seems to be one big ‘blog-o-sphere’ at the moment. Most news websites and newspapers have their own blogging sections, there are entire newspapers based on blog posts, and then there is of course the individual bloggers.
Even in the PhD and further academic scene, blogging has become massive. Everyone is doing it. So is that the reason I am jumping on that bandwagon?
dɪˈspɛː/noun: despair; plural noun: despairsThe complete loss or absence of hope.
“…a voice full of self-hatred and despair”
This morning I met a gentleman whose picture could feature next to this dictionary entry, and next to this post, obviously. Despair. It was all over his face, in his eyes, in his voice, his body. He was in his forties, and Job Centre Plus had sent him to our job club. He had to come, and had to be there by 10. Otherwise, he’d get sanctioned. That was it. Regardless of the job club being situated quite the distance from where he was living, leaving him relying on public transport, for which had to spend his last few quid.
What do I want to write about? Here, in papers, in my thesis? It is all still a blur. Not because I fail to see things, but because I am seeing so many important things happening around me that I wish I could write about (and solve) it all.
I am seeking to write a bit about workfare, about sanctions by the job centre, about the expectation that people should just be able to find work, and if they cannot it is their fault. About the fact that people think volunteering is going to fix a lot of things that government can’t or won’t do. About the fact that people get sanctioned for not going to one of two simultaneously planned activities that are both obligatory. About the fact that the whole online jobseeking process is flawed and not fit for all job markets and their workforce. About how people feel they are treated in Job Centres, by the public, and ultimately themselves.