Taking time off the PhD.

So, apropos my last post, when I talked of going part-time: I have an even more outre idea. If I go part-time I will still have the little bete noir chewing at my ear. If I take some time out from my PhD altogether, I can finish off some research stuff I’ve been guiltily putting off. That is, the continuous assessment analysis I’ve been avoiding. The three chapters I need to write. The two articles I need to finish. The book editing I need to complete. This feels like about two months of time out. By then I should be feeling happier about returning to the PhD and in fighting fit condition.

I don’t think I’m tired of the PhD, exactly. But I am tired of the relentless buzz of it, the subterranean throb of it. The never-endingness of it. I think doing some little things will help to refocus my poor, tired brain. Keeping focus on one thing for 3.5, 4 years is hard, man! Yesterday (being a Sunday and all), I spent an enjoyable morning planning some trade quotes for air-conditioning and insulation. Sometimes I think I just want to do stuff to our house (very hard to ignore one’s parental heritage, I fear), and not feel that work is my everything.

Still. I went to a narrative networking today and I see the great work everyone is doing and I think, maybe I should just push on? Keep at it, even though the response from supe is in the negative (i.e. no response at all) and I am tired and grumpy and sick of the whole thing. Hubby made a curious comment. He felt that I had moved beyond the student space and that I am moving to the next phase of early career researcher and that the frustration and sadness and, dare I say, depression I feel is a not unfamiliar reaction to a change in identity. That is, changing from student to professional. The time we spent in Thessaloniki was so full of potential and great, deep thinking, and I was making some great connections with eminent researchers, sending time with them and feeling as if my researcher voice had legitimacy and authority and that the concepts I am articulating were real. I come back home, and there sits my PhD, skulking lumpishly in the corner. Incomplete. Waiting. Looming, even.

I’m torn, currently angry with the PhD and possibly a little bit depressed. Am I normal? Of course I am. Is this normal? Yes, it is. Do I need a real holiday? Yes, more than ever.


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