Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Leave it, it's not worth it?

Warning: contains mostly me. 

I suppose I should make a comment about blowing dust off this thing, since it's been a full two years since I last posted in it. The second to last post on here is about giving my PhD one last shot... which I did for a bit, then decided it was all too much and I took a 'career break' much to the chagrin of people invested in me as a PhD candidate, and I went away for a bit. (It was definitely a career break, I definitely wasn't just running away. Nope.) I wanted to see what it was like being somewhere else for a bit and see if I could heal some of the bits of me that were broken... and I suppose I did to a certain extent, so that's nice.

Of course, I came back eventually and after a few weeks enjoying the UK again (it's possible, I assure you. I had a year without a roast dinner. What kind of year is that?!) and then I decided to bite the bullet and return to Sheffield full time, to my department and give the PhD one last shot. Again. That was an interesting decision, to be honest. Even after a year away I couldn't give it up! Imagine that!

But sadly, I find myself having problems once again though (because life is never easy), but they are slightly different this time. Whether that's better or worse, I don't know. So, I thought I'd talk about them a bit.




A few years ago, I had data collected and not a lot else. I had no good outline, no direction, a whole host of things that hadn't worked out and no idea where to start to get it all together. Now I have a plan that sort of makes sense, a direction I want to go in.., but there is so much to do I'm not sure it's physically possible for me to get it finished without suffering some sort of breakdown, mental or physical. Which is annoying. Because this time I think I am moving in the right direction, but I have until the end of the year to have a draft ready and man, that's hard. I'm already doing 8 - 12 hour days, 6 days a week, and I can't see how I can manage it. Particularly since, once again, I have no money and no way to support the kind of convenient life needed to undertake those kind of hours and... well, it's not fair. 



Ultimately, I've come to realise that a PhD isn't something I am super good at, but... and here's the big thing... I still want to be an osteologist, I still want to dig up and analyse skeletons and I want to be good at it. I want to publish things and teach people and enjoy what I do. I want to go to different parts of this beautiful country and see new things coming out of the ground, and talk to builders about how to sex a skeleton amid raised eyebrows and cautious interest, I want to give talks to enthusiastic parishioners and clergy people who are more morbid than you might expect and all of that malarkey. But I feel like if I don't finish this thesis, that dream will die and that's such a horrible thing to think about. I came all this way and to see it vanish because I can't complete... it's heartbreaking for me.

But the PhD isn't the indicator of my talents, not really. I'm good at writing reports, good at teaching and demonstrating, good with students (and if any of them contradict that, I'm not going to help them side the carpals) and I am interested in the subject... but writing 100,000 words is not a thing I am good at. Or, if I was good at it once, I lost it somewhere along with my depression and anxiety and it's not come back yet. I really want it to. I want it to turn up soon and let me get on with my life. If you need some teeth sided though, I am definitely your girl.

In my less striken-by-fear-of-failure moments, I try and remind myself that I've done well regardless. From a council house in Southampton, the first of an extended family of factory workers and taxi drivers to finish school, let alone go to University, do a masters or be accepted for a PhD. I've traveled, lived in other countries, worked all over UK and have lots of achievements that look good on a CV. I just don't have that one thing that I probably need to move on with my life... but I am not the sum of my PhD woes alone, right? I have all that other stuff too and I am loved and people I love are proud of me... it would just be nice to stop living under the (rusting, in need of conservation) Sword of Damocles I've positioned above myself.


So, that's not really resolved anything. Advice appreciated if anyone reads this and thinks of anything. Love and affection also appreciated, always :)

Harvey x





9 comments:

  1. Whenever afflicted by fear of failure, re-read Sandman - Fear of Falling.

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    Replies
    1. I love Sandman... I shall find time to re-read soon! :D

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    2. The relevant bit is neatly summarised here: http://may3s.tumblr.com/post/60264117421

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    3. Ah yes, I remember it now, just a short comic.. but perfect.
      I would like to do the flying bit now :) xx

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  2. I genuinely believed you when you said you were giving up. You seemed so desponent and frustrated and in actual, bona-fide grief. I was devastated on your behalf. I knew there wasn't a thing I could say that would help, so I didn't even try.

    It is quite amazing to see you return to it, I have to say. You seem calmer, more collected; your observations about your self, your relationship to The Thing (That Shall Not Be Named), your understanding of what's been going on these last few years; it all seems so spot on, at least as far as I know and -- well, at least how I convince myself that I -- understand you. And I couldn't be happier for you!

    Now go prod this thing. Prod it right in the nards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't quite work out who you are, but thank you, that's such a lovely, beautiful comment and I'm really happy to have the support of people like you :D
      I am definitely in a better place now. I hope I can keep on keeping on <3

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