The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Solutions for PhD Despair??

I am not sure whether it is the cold weather or the fact that I am over half-way through my PhD now (three out of six years) but I am feeling the full force of PhD Despair e.g. the feeling that I will never get it finished, it is a complete waste of time and nobody will read it anyway.

I am sure that most PhD students will feel like this at some point in their research.

I was therefore wondering if anyone had some suggestions as to how to combat the feelings of despair? The weirder and wackier the better. I am finding that because I made some ridiculous new years resolutions, such as giving up chocolate, I have narrowed my options somewhat on the 'cheering myself up' front...

And so this post is not completely miserable, some things I have tried recently which have cheered me up:
Going to the gym (surprisingly effective)
Painting my nails bright yellow
Mooching round charity shops
Reading a trashy novel
Watching Hollyoaks (or any other trashy TV)


Musebrarian said...

Hi Ceri,

Hang in there! I haven't personally used it yet, but there is which offers a forum for PhD students, mutual encouragement, support, tips and tricks for all sorts of things related to PhDs. I'm guessing its pretty US focused, but maybe there are pointers to similar forums for other places.

I also find it helpful to think about the dissertation as the final end-all-be-all. It's just another (somewhat daunting) step towards a career pursuing interesting questions.

Now back to writing my proposal instead of reading blogs....

Ceri said...

Cool thanks I shall take a look! It is pretty easy to get hung up on the PhD and the bit at the end as being so important... and I guess I felt the same about my degree and my Masters and I got through them so hopefully there will be an end one day....

girldogtorch said...

Type on a typewriter. (the sound and feel of the words is both novel and inspiring-- you're _writing_)

Imagine you're the celebrity presenter at a conference, and give a little speech. (you can get excited about your topic again, or get recharged on why it mattered to you so much when you began)

Pretend you're being interviewed by the NY Times (or Rolling Stone Magazine) to talk about your work, and how you got through your dissertation. (re-adjusting your perspective to a future point, where the PhD is over and has been wildly successful, can help trip your brain into feeling as though it's totally doable again.)

Volunteer with small, rowdy children and try to explain what you do to them. (their questions, disregard, and ultra-strong senses of self will keep you humble)

Jen said...

bake cakes and decorate them with colourful icing and them give them to your friends (of course keeping a couple for yourself!) :D

Ceri said...

These are all fab suggestions thank you! I shall try some out and maybe report back on the success!