Demotivational Exercises

Here we go…again

  • Motivation: Really struggling at the moment with getting motivated.  As I’ve been working on the same damned thing for months on end, without any end in sight, it’s getting harder and harder each day to motivate myself to keep working.  I am still cracking the whip, but it’s not a great deal of fun doing the PhD right now.  I know I get these cycles from time to time, and it’d be nice if and when I move onto the next bit of fieldwork; but right now it feels I’m inching forward painfully slowly.  And time is just ticking away.  Glad I don’t have to finish this in three years, because there’s no way I can see that I can (unless, you know, I give up sleeping and weekends).  Really, really missing seeing other human PhD students at any point…but as that’s not going to change any time soon, guess I just have to suck it in and knuckle down to more work.  Speaking of which…
  • Supervisory meeting: Main event of the week really. Had this on Thursday – which in itself is a bit of a shock as the previous one was only a week ago.  Normally months go by between these as part of the “long lonely process of being a humanities PhD”.  Perhaps slightly less traumatic than the previous week as I already knew by this point that my long developing (I’d like to say festering) theory chapter had already largely been pulled to bits previously, and this was just the finessing.  Or further deconstruction.  Hence I came out of the meeting not feeling quite so beaten down by the experience.  Mildly terrified by the amount of rewriting I’ve got ahead of me, and annoyed that everything else is going on the back burner. Again. But on the other hand my supervisors had a useful suggestion to write a very brief statement of “theory wot I is using and why” over the next few days so we can see if we have plugged all the holes.  At least there was acknowledgement from the pair of them that this is a tough area for me (as a non-humanities UG), which was nice.  Doesn’t cut down the whale of a workload I’ve got between me and Christmas.  So back to the books and rewriting I go.  After all, writing is re-writing.
  • Media communications: Let’s lighten the mood and talk about this week’s media seminar.  The topic was the feature article, which by a coincidence is also the subject of one of the students two pieces of assessed work.  Also I am sure totally coincidentally I came closest to having a full class of students – almost too full as some of them were…a bit too chatty for their own good, which made the session more of a struggle to get the class to engage with.  As usual I think we really had about 2hrs worth of material to work through in an hour – very difficult to know if I should cut material that the lectuerer of the week has set in order to get a better class experience or not?  I do normally trim a few bits, as its rare to run under time, but this week I can easily see we could have worked through half the material in more detail and it might have been more use.  It’ll be interesting to see the pieces the students develop (they have to write a profile piece on someone – not a friend or relative – which includes an interview with them), especially the scope.  Was also amused in our brainstorming exercise that one group suggested writing a profile on me – sadly had to tell them I’m terribly dull (not to mention it probably wouldn’t be ethical since I’m marking the work).  Next session…the interview practice!
  • Face to Face: The other teaching session was…if anything…even harder to get through.  Second week of Freud, which as I remember last year was slightly akin to pulling teeth.  Students were expected to have read two brief papers beforehand…most hadn’t, but at least some of them had brought hard copies.  So the attempts at fermenting discussion mostly turned into an hour’s directed reading and brief interaction.  Not the most powerful of teaching sessions, and I’ve a sneaking memory that the following seminar might also be a paper reading exercise.  Could be wrong as some of the lecturers have altered the seminar contents this year, but it’s going to be a struggle to get the students engaged with something like that on the last teaching day of term.  Of course that makes the assumption that any students turn up!  Followed the session with the best part of an hour giving some 1-2-1 tuition to one student who feels they’re struggling a bit.  Hopefully I may have helped with some suggestions for actions to take, and perhaps calmed their fears…but who knows.  Fun fact – I’ve expected to be available to give any students some 1-2-1 time in my classes, but I don’t get paid for it.  Exploitation much?  *sigh*  Still, I’d rather help them out and not get paid, than not help them at all.
  • Reading: Most of the rest of the week was spent a little prepping for seminars but mostly reading various papers that I’ve had pending for a while.  Just general OA things, which its difficult to keep abreast of in between trying to learn more about humanities theory stuff.  But needs to be done.
  • Summer School: Heard I’d been rejected from this mid-week.  Bugger, really pissed off about it to be truthful; much as I rather suspected I wouldn’t get in.  Ah well, no summer trip to Germany for me.  Guess it’ll give me more time to work on my research, but it’s a shame I won’t be able to present the paper I wrote for it.  Wish I knew of some more things like this in the humanities that were worth attending or presenting at; as I feel I’ve a real gap in my knowledge as to how other scholars are working.  Considering this is about the second thing in over 2 years my supervisors have pointed me towards, I’m not going to hold my breath for them to spot another one!  Interested to hear one of my fellow PhDs got in; though interesting that my supervisor helped write the application (He did have the good grace to apologise for not thinking to offer to help me, hmn).
  • Interim Monitoring: Wrote my interim monitoring form, planned out the next 6 months and almost got everything signed off by my supervisors (who are largely horrified by the bureaucracy I have to wade through – though to my mind it could be a lot more heavy handed!).  Fingers crossed I can get the last form signed off next week and hand it in.

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