The meeting – Week 18 as a PhD student

PhD Life

I will start this week with a quick update on my experience of publishing these posts. I posted two posts on the first day of making my site; It has become clear to me how important a headline is. One of my posts is titled ‘An unexpected PhD student’, the other is titled ‘ Week 1 – mediocre expectations’. I will let you be the judge of which one got 100% of the views that day. I don’t know why I expected the fact that being a PhD student would be more interesting than the run-of-the-mill fitness or lifestyle blogs. Oh, how I was wrong. This adds another dimension to this experience; previously, I thought people would click on my posts and give me feedback on my writing. My current belief is that I will have to become a lot more savvy with self-promotion and become the corporate-waster I despise. Although, It will probably look good on a CV…

This week1 I had my first supervisor meeting, I had to give a presentation about all the work I have been doing, and mostly justify my funding to my industrial sponsors. At my university, this occurs every 3-4 months, with larger formal reviews at the 6six month and one year mark. I am glad to say it went well, and that my supervisor’s – all four of them – are very supportive. I had been looking forward to this meeting as I have not had any feedback as to how I am doing; this is worrying as you feel as if you could potentially be wasting your time – and their money. I saw this meeting as more of an opportunity than an interrogation, as I needed the feedback. I am glad I do not have to prepare for it anymore though as I am bored of preparing presentations for the meantime. On that note, I have been asked to present a poster at the end of the month; another couple of weeks not working on my actual work is upon me. I should reframe my thinking, and see it as an opportunity to improve my communication skills; at the moment I see it as a chore.

If you have read some, or all, of my previous posts. Firstly, Thank you! Secondly, you will see that I have been complaining about not knowing what to do, and wondering if I am doing enough work. Well, ladies and gentleman, I now have too much to do; it took 18 weeks for this to occur, what a joyous 18 weeks. If experience is anything to go by, the time will start to pass a lot quicker! I have been preparing for another presentation that I have coming up next week, so my week has been quite boring. However, I did manage to do something other than prep presentations; I have started work on my first academic paper, mostly just the research but I did manage to write my first line, which as we know, is a start. A lot of the research involved looking for journals I could publish in; it looks as if anyone can start a journal as many journals had websites I would describe as home-brewed. There were not many that I will consider for publishing; I think that sticking to the big players – those owned by Elsevier etc. – is the best strategy for me at this point. Writing this paper will be a massive undertaking, and I expect it will take a year.

I have finally finished Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, to be honest, I don’t recommend it. Unless you want an endurance challenge, I don’t think it was interesting enough for me to recommend it over other books. I will be running back to non-fiction for a while; I am unconvinced that reading fiction is a good use of my time. I have mentioned in the past that I have been writing code as part of my PhD; I have come across a few barriers recently regarding the installation of python packages. I have had a little bit of luck, but I am still stuck, however, I will continue to work on the problem as it is deep-rooted now, and I want the satisfaction of solving the problem. A less mature version of myself would have given up, and gone with another, a lesser method of achieving the same goal – measuring the colour of leaves objectively. I think this resilient mindset is something that is worth cultivating. It may be a cliché, but I believe that the work is much more important than the result. It is just important to take time to appreciate what you’re doing and enjoy the ride, as the happiness from the result is very short acting.

1. I need to find some more opening phrases.


As with all these posts, they are roughly 4 months behind the present. Interesting how all the problems I had at this point are the least of my problems 4 months down the line.

Published by Louis

Spend less than you earn, Invest the surplus, avoid debt. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

12 thoughts on “The meeting – Week 18 as a PhD student

  1. Infinite Jest was, long. Nonfiction is great. I think journals popped up when the academic machine began to require it. You can only get turned down so many places before you reach deep into that chasm. Journal of Mole Ethics and Astrological Ethnography.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay. I never recommend movies over books but…have you seen ‘The End of the Tour’? Unlikely cast (two comedians playing dramatic roles, like wtf am I recommending you subject yourself to? Jim Carey’s mid-career breakdown?!) but it changed my opinion of David Foster Wallace.
    I, too, am joining the corporate wasters club. Looking at it another way, most academics these days don’t have the audacity to sell out. So I salute you for your audacity and I’m 53.2% confident it will make your CV shinier than your peers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like your precision on that figure. No, I haven’t seen that film, I am aware of its existence, and if you’re recommending it I certainly will give it a watch!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You say you are looking for journals to publish in? You wouldn’t happen to mean literary journals, would you? If so, I happen to know quite a few that I would be more than happy to share with you. I actually work at one myself, and I know we’re looking for more submissions!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Have you read Flower for Algernon (by Daniel Keyes)? I like the novel for the same reason I like your blog (it has nothing to do with the ending). I think you’ll like it. I’ve never come across someone with a good sense of humor but doesn’t like fiction. Hmmm. Too bad.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely, yes! And please tell me once you’ve finished (even if it’ll be a year from now). I’d be very curious to know what you think about the novel. I’ve written a review, but it’s in my native language.


      2. Also, I don’t know whether you’ve read Dollars and Sense (Dan Ariely and Jeff Kreisler) and Misbehaving (Richard Thaler). Both are similar to Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow; but they’re funnier (and more about economics and finance which I reckon you seem to be interested in).


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