The Valley of Shit*

There’s a great post on PhD blog The Thesis Whisperer about the Valley of Shit which sums up my journey of the last six months. It has been a terrible time. I have found that more time for study=less study, and that without some strict goals and regular supervisor meetings I’ve been missing all sorts of deadlines, mostly self imposed.

Now I feel I am escaping the Valley. Notwithstanding the shit week I’ve had now that my dog has died (unexpectedly and traumatically), I feel I have found my study mojo again. I am out of Shit Valley and walking through the valley where I can see the sunrise. A nice feeling. I’m about to finish my last narrative chapter. Then I will be forging along trying to write my methods chapter, and my lit review and my introduction, and my discussion – oh dear. Now I just want to chuck my head in the sand again.

I’ve been reading a fascinating book by Richard Sennett called The Craftsman (Penguin, 2008), which sums up my feeling about apprenticeship. Signature Pedagogy is a similar idea, but Sennett writes that “thinking and feeling are contained within the process of making” (p.7). This is precisely what I am trying to understand, unpack and discuss. Another interesting article is one by Kim Burwell (2012), who writes about the value of apprenticeship. Just published, it is either really really good for my study or really really bad (jumped the gun, much?).

So, for May, my goals are to: finish my narrative chapters and send excerpts to my participants for member checking. Then, continue reading and taking notes about apprenticeship. Finding that ONE big idea and logically allowing it to fit with my study. (SO close!). Revisiting my lit review and beginning to rewrite. Huge, I know.

At least I’m not up shit creek anymore. Or in Shit Valley.

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