Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Diary of an Honours Student, Week Three

Let's get down to business.

My mum says that there is a phenomenon experienced by new mothers in which the mother spends all day at home with the baby, and therefore is so starved for adult conversation that when her significant other comes home, she smothers them with talk.  And maybe this other person does not WANT to talk.  Maybe they've been at work all day, talking to morons and jackasses, and they just want to be silent for the next hour.

Well, think of my thesis like a baby.  Most days, I have to get up and deal with my thesis.  I go to class to learn how to take care of it.  I go to the library to get it things.  I feed it the knowledge that I get from books and articles.  I clean it up, and change it.  I do these things alone, in my room with the door shut and only the dog for company.  It gets a little overwhelming considering that I do these things in stints of a few hours/ most of the daylight at a time.  It gets lonely only having a dog and some books for company.  Gosh, I never thought that I would say that.

Anyway, it's been brought to my attention that I may have this New Parent Syndrome, and having had some time to think about it, I'd like to share some coping techniques.

1.  Get out of the House

If your nerves are absolutely frazzled from studying at home, try the library.  Try a cafe.  Try somewhere where there are other people around so that you can prove to yourself that the world has not suddenly fallen away while you were working on your thesis.

2. Reward Yourself

Tell yourself that you will go to a movie on Friday if you get enough words done during the week.  Treat yourself to a walk by the river.  Watch television when you take your break.  Remember that just because you're doing a higher degree by research, it doesn't mean that you have to stop doing the things you enjoy.  No one expects you to be studying Friday night, and if you've done your work during the week, you can go dancing.

3. Be Willing to Compromise

If you want to talk to your boyfriend/ girlfriend/ best friend/ family member and catch up, be aware that they've got their own stuff going on too.  Shift your phone call to after dinner instead of right after they get in the door.  You don't have to give up human contact altogether.

4. Be Assertive

Make sure the people in your life know what you need.  Use your big person words.  "I need you to make time to have a coffee with me."  "I need you to come over this week."  "I need a really big bottle of wine."

5. Branch Out

Like a big green, leafy academic tree.  You don't have to tell all your woes to one person.  That poor person has their own stuff to deal with.  Think about the problem that you are dealing with, and who would be the best person in your life to talk about it with.  Who can give you perspective?  Problems with your thesis are best talked over with your supervisor, your peer or sometimes your parents/ older siblings if they've done university.

Also remember that variety is the spice of life.  That class member you added on Facebook, who you think is really cool?  They'll be your friend on Facebook, what's to say they won't in real life?  Invite someone new out for a coffee after class and get your life out of cyberspace and into reality from time to time.

6. Schedule Your Time

You don't need to know what you'll be doing every second of every day, but you do need to know that between 9 and 5 weekdays, for example, your mind is on your thesis.  Tell your friends about your plan so that they can contact you when you're NOT busy.  And try to stay off Facebook/ Twitter/ Tumblr/ Blogger while you're working.

7. Remember WHY you are doing this

You have a goal.  It is an important goal.  You need your thesis to get there.  Therefore, you love your thesis, it is your baby.  Give it a name.  Give it a working title.  Introduce it to your friends.  Put your best effort into it.

(For instance, I am trying to think of a really interesting, non gender specific name for my thesis that is quite Australian.  Any suggestions?)

All that being said, it's time for me to get my nose in a book.  I hope that this has been helpful.  Thanks for checking in!

1 comment:

  1. That some solid advice there Emily! I like it.


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