Regret? – week 32 as a PhD student

PhD Life

I have been fending for myself this week which is just as well as it has been an anxiety-ridden week for one reason or another.

My partner has been away for seven days at this point. She is on holiday in the Nashville, and I could not go with her due to a few reasons that are some of the downsides of doing a PhD. She booked this holiday last year and had wanted me to go with her, but I had anxiety about taking ten days off when I did not know what I was going to be doing at that point in my PhD.

Image result for nashville
Basically why I’m not upset I didn’t go.

With the clarity of hindsight, it would have probably been okay. However, I would not have been able to collaborate on the project I am working on now. This project involves growing different varieties of rocket leaves at different temperatures to see how the chemistry is affected, and therefore, flavour.

I am learning a lot doing this collaboration, so it has been worthwhile, and I don’t know how good it will be until after the data analysis phase. It has taken a lot of my budget and I am not sure how beneficial to my project will be at this stage. This is creating quite a bit of anxiety; I am on the ride now so have to see it to the end.

This is the longest I have been away from my partner in seven years, I am coping okay, and I don’t wish I was in Nashville. I do wish I was with her though as most of my life is built around stuff I do with her and I can’t really relax when she is not around. Whilst she has not been here I have spent almost all hours working on my PhD; good for progress, bad for general enjoyment of life.

Because I have been working so much, I have lost 1 kg in weight, and have started to drink more coffee as my sleep has degraded a bit. Also, I have been listening to a lot of Metallica; I wonder if there is a correlation? Your life burns faster, obey your master.

When I have had some time outside of the lab this week, I have been continuing my quest to learn more about machine learning. This has its challenges as does anything that you’re learning. You see a concept that you can use, but you know you need to learn a lot more before you can actually use it. I am at that stage; I need it now, but alas I cannot have it. More is all I need.

As soon as I finish writing this, I will be back at the learning process trying to train my machine to recognise plants from the scene. It is possible, and I will complete this task if it kills me, even If I have to work on it while I am chopping my breakfast in the mirror.

I am booking a meeting with my supervisor for as soon as possible, and hopefully, she will pull the strings and get me back on track; at least mentally anyway. The interesting thing about this is that I can only see the workload getting thicker, rather than winding down. I think what will happen is that I get used to the high workload and it becomes normal. After all, I assume that is one of the skills that makes someone with a PhD employable. The ability to work hard.

Can you guess the song I was referencing throughout?

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Author: Louis

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

13 thoughts on “Regret? – week 32 as a PhD student”

  1. It was very interesting to hear about the work you are doing.

    As a life coach i would like to suggest planning your life so that you can go to Nashville,be with your girlfriend do your great work and have time for yourself.
    I know it is easy for me to say.
    However you are feeling trapped between a rock and a hard place and have created an anxiety in your central brain (Amigdala) to be precise.
    Just a suggestion.
    Set out a 6 months planner…..yes take the time to do it!
    Arrange all your activities and schedule in holidays,birthdays,sleeping,working etc.
    Let your girlfriend know you may try this and it may help you be more focused on balance of life than immediate deadlines.
    Just a thought.

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    1. I sorta agree here. There’s also one additional huge factor–which is figuring out your work balance with your adviser. Seems like she is pretty reasonable, but it’s worth having the direct conversation with her about time off and expectations.

      For me, I found that once I grew the confidence to ask directly for stuff that I had no idea about, I was able to achieve my personal goals on top of doing all the lab work. Give it a try and let me know!

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      1. This is an interesting addition to my reply.
        However i have to repect her intellegence to develop her life balance.I am here to offer her a personal skills package to enhance her own life and make her more able to fullfill her love of life thru structured development.

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  2. Ah! How grand is love?! The fact that you are thinking of your lovely girlfriend and wishing you were with her will undoubtedly set her heart in a calm place. And absence does, of course, make the heart grow fonder. ☺️ Or perhaps that’s just what us romantics of the world choose to think. 😂 Good luck with the plants! 😊 Your writing is lovely, as usual.

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