Welcome home procrastination – Week 34 as a PhD student.

Writing this is a welcome distraction from the monotonous grind of PhD life this week. I have even resurrected an old time-destroying habit that is competitive gaming to distract myself.

PhD Life

It is not that is bad or soul-destroying work, but if you do anything for a long enough period, it becomes boring. I have been harvesting and processing rocket for what feels like three months. I would really like a week of no lab work to concentrate on a few others things I need to get done.

I need to make some ground on my paper and learn a few data analysis techniques. You know how it is; you get home from a day a work and all you have the strength to do is the easy items on your to-do list.

I think the lack of energy for any substantial activity after a day in the lab is the cause of why I have relapsed and started to play video games again. They help to distract from the constant murmurings in my mind about variables I should measure and experiments I should re-run.

The forces of distraction are pulling me towards them as the minimum level of energy required to avoid them is not available. This weekend I am going to allow distractions!

This week brings with it a marker that I have had staked out for a few months; the marker is a three-month countdown timer to my transfer viva. This is essentially the only barrier between me and the next few years of continuation as a PhD student. Therefore, it is quite an important thing for me.

To complete the process, I have to complete a report similar to that of a masters thesis and then have a viva, which is a grilling from two academics on your work. Of course, it won’t be anywhere as hard as the final viva, but to someone in my position, it feels as important. The reality is that it is scarce for anyone to fail, and one should not worry too much, but in a more physical reality, it feels as if it is fifty-fifty: pass or fail.

Coming up next week is a day where I have to leave at 5:30 AM. This is something that would sound like hell, but I am looking forward to the change of pace.

We are going to plant 9000 plants for a field trial; I have not been involved in the planting stage before, only the harvesting stage. It is going to hard, gruelling work, but I like to try everything once, and it will be a nice break from my day-to-day activities.

I hope next week will bring about the end of all the long days in the lab for a few weeks, so I can do some planning and get on track.

Mostly, I hope I can make a decent start on my 1st-year report as this would help relieve some of the anxiety I have towards it. I woke up thinking about it during the week; this is one of my sure signs that I am not quite altogether mentally.

Author: Louis

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

13 thoughts on “Welcome home procrastination – Week 34 as a PhD student.”

  1. You know, I’ve been following you since your week… 6 I think? And, as I was reading you today, it hit me how much better your writing got in between those many weeks. Do you think regularity helped the most in getting this skill under your belt? Or is it that you started to spend more time and planning on your next posts? What do you think of your evolution between then and now? Always a pleasure to read you πŸ™‚

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  2. Thanks for the kind words! I think it is because I have actively been trying to Improve. When writing I always have my copy of, ‘My Grammar and I’ by Caroline Taggart next to me that I look at whenever I am unsure about the grammar and punctuation. Improving the fundamentals has been my priority this year, and I am slowly getting the hang of the ‘rules’. I also use Grammarly, and they send me an email each week of my top three grammar mistakes, so I know what to look for when I am writing the next piece.

    Other than that, I just try to write once a week at a minimum and take on all feedback given by commenters on these posts. I don’t really plan my posts I just sit down and write, perhaps I should!

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  3. I have not done the planting or harvesting in school, but I did do a plant population study. Very interesting study for me. I do the other things at home though, and sometimes out in nature too.

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  4. Phew! sounds strenuous, no wonder you guys are highly respected. I am sure you will fondly remember these gruelling times once you are a doctorate. Good luck, hope all your hard work pays. yep play video games too and try writing poems, you’d be surprised how pressure helps churn great writings.

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