I have read a couple of great blog posts over the past couple of days about the final stage of completing a doctorate and the various conflicts that emerge throughout this perilous journey.
The Thesis Whisperer is a great blog for anyone studying or researching, with a lot of helpful tips, stories and resources available. Yesterday the post was called Are You Stopping Yourself From Finishing Your PhD? It reviews and comments on a new book called “Our Dissertations, ourselves” by Christine Sorrell Dinkins and Jeanne Merkle Sorrell. I’m thinking of purchasing the book to read over the Xmas break. The book apparently covers many important issues for women research students around identity, isolation, writing, relationships and supervision – all of which are of particular interest to me.
Another blog post from 100 Days to the Doctorate and Beyond also discuss similar issues and this week’s post looked at the myth of the work-life balance. My favourite part of the blog…
The work-life balance and completing your doctorate are a myth. You do not get to work full time and study full time and have a clean house. See friends. Exercise. Cook. You get to work on life-survival mode only.
For those who don’t know, I worked full-time or part-time throughout my candidature as I was not fortunate enough to receive a scholarship. For the first 2 years I worked full time hours and studies full time, but this year I dropped down to part time work in order to focus more on the thesis. Whilst I don’t have children to take care of like many of my fellow candidates do, I have my partner, my family, my friends, a house to clean and meals to cook. Of course, I admire so strongly, those women who can add the full time role of motherhood to their list… something I can’t even comprehend the difficulty of. Some days certain tasks take pole position on the priority list and others fall to the bottom… and that’s just life.
It is all about prioritising, and whilst the thesis will have to become a higher priority, especially in these last few months, I also refuse for it to be my number 1 priority. My family and friends will always come first… at the end of the day they are what matter most to me. If I died tomorrow I would like to know that I worked and studied hard, yes, but more importantly that I gave my family and friends as much of my time and energy that I could; that I was present in their lives and that I showed them how important they are to me. That might mean that my thesis is not as ‘good’ as it could have been at the end of the day – but it just has to be ‘good enough’.