Halfway up the Stair


This week represents a pretty momentous moment in my PhD life.  I’m officially halfway through my funding at the end of this week, and while I do have a year beyond that to submit I’ll be needing to find paid employment to support myself through it.  Hard to believe it, but it’s been 18 months I’ve been working on this whole thing…and come to think of it, 18 months since I had an actual holiday too.  *sigh* Going to be a lot longer before I get a proper break; staycations don’t really count since I live and work from home in front of a PC most days…and in my spare time I live and work at home and play games on my PC (Witcher 2 at the moment, to be followed by Max Payne 3 after that – thank you Steam sale!).

No Robin, I said halfway up!

Anyway today I cracked out my notes to start work on a chapter of my thesis looking at the development of open access in the UK.  I started on the background reading to this way before Xmas, but it’s been sidelined since then with the more pressing concerns of interview analysis.  Halfway through the morning I realised that I need to update the small time-line of events I started more than a year ago.  Thinking this shouldn’t take too long I set out to update it…and around 5hrs later finished.  I think that’s a recurring theme of a PhD, all these small tasks that seem like they’ll take next to no time to complete, turn out to take far longer than you expect.  I know the same’s true in a job, but in a PhD you’re essentially working for yourself, so the motivation to avoid being slapdash or doing a half-arsed job is much more prevalent.

Not of course that I was ever slapdash in my former professional life, and my no 🙂

Ended up stopping around downstairs ranting about some of my thoughts on OA and my insights to poor old Mrs Llama who had only stopped to ask me if I wanted a cup of tea.  I suspect she won’t be too sorry to go back to work in the near future, if only to give her ears a rest.


This week I’m trying to alternate what I do each day, rather than blitzing a single task.  Hopefully this will make for a more engaging week for my brain!  Today I’m working on my data analysis, a spot of cleaning up and a bit of category merging.  As it emerged (ho ho) I also had to reclassify a few bits as well.  And then I got to generate some very nice graphical images which will guide my thesis chapter writing on this bit.  And will also shape the next round of interviews once I’ve got this written up (hopefully by Easter).  Finished off the day writing half the slides for this week’s seminar on globalisation.  Not that sure of this topic, and confess that the phraseology used by the lecturer this week in his notes aren’t quite as clear as normal.  I can see I’ll be doing a chunk of background reading tomorrow in my “spare” time to bring myself up to date sufficiently to answer the student’s questions on the topic.

In some ways, not too sorry that it’s the spring break after this for a couple of weeks (not that I’ll be stopping work, but at least no seminars!).

Oh and in other news Mrs Llama and I won our first competition (we’ve gone in for…erm, quite a few lately) so a victory lap of Llama Towers was held.


In for the lecture on globalisation, and for printing off some of my tree maps of my data – in glorious A3 colour.  Lecture was very interesting, and thankfully I think I can engage the students’ interest in the subject tomorrow.  That said going on their faces in the lecture, a lot of them are still wondering quite how it relates to media.  Had a meeting after this of the College Research Degrees Committee.  Not a lot of laughs, and as I was the only rep there kinda felt a bit abandoned by my fellows.  Still, raised the issues of concerns about the library and training courses that people wanted flagged up.  By the time I’d done this, the will to do much more had faded away, but I forced myself to go through the seminar preparation notes and draw up my plan for the next day.


Spent the morning doing a bit of data tweaking in NVivo, after thinking that I ought to subdivide my data more by university grouping.  This meant that I had to go find the information on that and plug it into the software.  Not thrilling but I think it’ll make the data set more relevant.

Seminars went okay, though I had an errant student from another seminar group who was (to put it mildly) a whole different kettle of fish to my regular students.  Still, I guess I’ve said before I’d rather the students spoke up more; so i guess it was a case of be careful what you wish for.


As Mother Llama was coming for the weekend I had a bit of a truncated day of work, fiddling with data.  Continuing the theme of this week felt like I made very little concrete progress, but at least some progress was made.  I’ll polish this bit off next week though, and get cracking on the writing and data reviewing.  Since my students are away for the next couple of weeks it’ll give me a bit of uninterrupted time.

Ah well, only 18 funded months left now…all downhill from here (eep!)


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