Yep. I’ve hit it. Apparently, according to some pundits of RHD research, when one is about two thirds through their research journey, they suddenly hit the “I never want to do anything more associated with this degree EVER” state. And I’m there at last. I never thought I’d get there. But this year has proven to be a bit of a doozy, with floods and house buying and business building. Never mind the ARC documentation I was putting together at the beginning of the year. Living and life has got in the way, finally, and, it feels, permanently. And my satisfaction level at the thorny end of this degree is missing. Not only that, but as is seen from previous posts, I’m beginning to wonder what to do after the degree. I don’t want to be a permanent student any more, but I have no real aims after this. Sure, I want to be at uni, doing thinking and researching and teaching type stuff, but do I have the perseverance to maintain this? I’ve started wondering again what I am good at.
So I am putting off the inevitable finish line because I’m not sure what I’m going to do after this is done. I’ll be a bonafide Doctor of Philosophy without a job to go to. I know I can teach, but I don’t think I’m great at it and I’ll have to work super hard at it to be very good. I know I can sing, but I feel similarly and I’m just not hungry enough for it. I know I can write, but often feel I write badly. So what for the life of me am I going to do? At the moment I feel aimless and a little bit depressed, although it’s partly because I’ve also been sick, which will depress anyone if it lasts longer than a week.
Like every year thus far, I have struggled to maintain focus on my research, and I have really struggled to finish my transcripts in preparation for my narrative chapters. I still have 3 to complete, although, it must be said for the record that I have listened and looked at them many times. I have written a number of articles and been to two conferences, and this has been good for me. I have passed my mid-term review and my ideas coalesced nicely then. So I know what I need to be getting on with. I just don’t really want to do it. It’s not procrastination, exactly. It’s more like anger, and grief, and frustration all rolled into one little “not do anything at all” package.
For the last three weeks I’ve been thinking I never want to look at my research ever again. So, for the sake of my sanity, I’ve decided to take time out from it, to mull over one of my narrative chapters in my head, and not WORRY about it any more. I’ll get back to it. But yesterday I confided to the RHD group we set up at my university that I’m seriously stuck in this stage. Don’t want to think about it, don’t want to do it. Avoiding the time taking stuff like the transcripts I am so close to finishing. Another group member confided the same – he said it was the time consuming elements that take one AWAY from one’s thinking that one avoids, even as he acknowledges that the time consuming stuff must be done in order for the work to proceed. Wow. A conundrum indeed.