Standing still

e27541204b3623fe3c281d7b578dadf6PhD research moves in mysterious ways: back, forth, slow, quick, or not at all!

In December 2014, I had my upgrade presentation, chapter submission and interview. Things went well and it was a very intense and interesting experience. Up until I started presenting I was quite sure that my presentation was awful and that my world would come to an end right afterwords. No such thing happened. On the contrary, I received some stimulating questions and a lot if interest from colleagues that made me proud but also optimistic about my research. After that, I had a long deserved break, enjoying chrismas holidays and having fun.

January set the limit of going back to research. That is when all went wrong. More than 3 months now, all of my reading, studying, writing takes me nowhere in terms of academic writing or argumentation as if there is nothing to say. Every day, I wake up telling myself that today is the day I will break through this situation, but actually it’s more like the Groundhog Day, only I am not Biil Murray and I dont tell the weather (not yet at least). In this desperate condition, I decided and sent my wanna-be-chapter draft to my supervisors feeling loads of shame for that piece of naive writing that stands miles apart from an academic text. And the thing is that I still dont know how they can actually help me, since I have not yet decided what it is I am arguing about.So, here I am in my third year, where supposingly I should be doing loads of writing, looking at my screen and notes, wandering what it is I am doing. In my first year of research, I was much more driven, decisive and was writing much more than now. Less knowledge it seems, but much more effective.

Why though sharing this experience with you? Because I think that we -as in early researchers- tend to disclose only the results of our research but hardly discuss the process with other people who are more experienced and might be of help. We exchange views on such topics only in informal gatherings and private discussions between us, as if reavealing in public that at some points you get stuck will mean the end of our acedemic careers. Moreover, I am at the moment far away from my academic environment which means noone to talk it through. So, here I am, saying out loud that I am not going anywhere with my research, hoping that it might motivate me to start over again and take a better shot at it from today, or maybe receive some response from other people being in the same heartbreaking condition.

Until then, enjoy the spring with its sunny weather and blossoming flowers, cause summer is coming up soon.





coffeeYou wake up and it’s Monday. Another week full of potential, plans and dreams. For starters, you take your dog for a walk (essential), you make a cup of coffee (or two just to be on the safe side) and place yourself in front of the computer screen ready to start doing. Doing? Really?

Rewind. You place yourself in front of the computer screen and you start doubting. Doubting about your week, your schedules, your obligations…hell even about your Christmas decorations lying on your floor for some days now. Doing has never been more challenging than those tinny little instances when you stop and think. So, now what?

Another set of moments when you look at a digital, empty, white space -known as word document- and imagine what you would write on it. Do you think that graffiti people have the same problem? Staring at walls and doors for days? Anyway, I know myself well enough to spot these instances and acknowledge that they are time and energy consuming. My alarm goes on, yelling “save yourself from a day of misery and RE-schedule immediately!”. In other words, restart. Instantly, I press the little red “x” button at the top of the page and go on with my day as if nothing ever happened.

Next scene on Monday morning, I am watching on vimeo a performance that I am writing about. In the first ten minutes, I am completely absorbed, taking notes, making connections, stricken by a million ideas. By the end…Surprise! I find myself thrilled, unstoppable, ready to pin it down with words. There it is! Microsoft word I shall not let you win this time. I am ready for you.

Cause, in the end, we all need a little restart and a lot of inspiration.

Have a nice week everyone!