2016

… and the extension that I dreaded.

Despite my efforts to keep within my timeline of finishing PhD in 3 years, 2015 has not went very well. Changing supervisors and taking the whole drama pretty hard on myself made me question the reasons I came on board the PhD journey. I don’t know how I managed to pass through those few months with my new supervisor panel. I still remember the amount of tears I shed in the meetings, feeling afraid and angry at myself for losing it in front of them.

And then there’s the 6-month scholarship extension.

It allows me to submit my thesis later but I did felt like I failed in keeping my promise to finish this in 3 years. I thought I could achieve the impossible. While there is less 2 months to go before March comes around, I am still hanging a bit of hope to wrap up the writing by then.

I am grateful for being part of the PhD journey, but sometimes I lie in my bed thinking why on earth I am not giving up yet. I am not interested to be an academic (even though I am totally capable of handling the research part of the job) and I am not interested to publish, and I hate presentations. Not even sure whether I see value in my own work at times.

While I seek the light at the end of the tunnel, I know the only thing I can do is to move forward from now on and stop standing still like what I did for the past 6 months. I hate my unproductive self, but I have so little confidence in my own work, and myself, that it’s frustrating and tiring to continue this journey.

Not giving up yet. 2016 will be the year I am done with this PhD. And let me know if there’s such a thing as a thesis fairy… it will drastically help me finish my journey asap…

 

Getting knocked down…

… way too often by my supervisors.

I actually feel very tired of defending my own ideas now. The moment my supervisors start asking questions “why this and why not that?” I kept my silence and just thinking of scrapping the current one and move on to a building a new thesis from scratch.

Sometimes in our supervisory meeting, I feel like I am stepping into a boxing ring with my main supervisor as my opponent and my co-supervisor is the referee. Before I get to give my best shot at punching, my opponent would have pinned me down and I would have then gave up the thought of even continue the match.

I let my supervisors do the talking most of the time. Heck, I don’t even know how to answer some of their questions.

Why academics are so hard to please?

This just reaffirm my personal distaste to be surrounded by intelligent people. Worst if they are the intellectual kind.

Well, no hope to submit thesis on time then. Extension seems inevitable now.

Falling out of love…

… with this place.

Considering the paperwork for change of supervisors is finalised and approved within a day after submission, I felt so weird that no one from the admin tried to (at least) investigate how the student is feeling throughout this process.

Not to say that I am not thankful that the admin and paperwork is quite smooth and quick; but I have to admit that no one in the university will care about the student’s mental and emotions when such a thing happen.

Maybe a change in supervisor is not a big deal after all?

I can’t wait to leave.

I’ll take this as a motivation to finish and submit.

Wandering mind

It’s more than a week since my last meeting with the new supervisory team, and I have approximately 4 working days before I present to them my game plan.

Truth to be told, I have been finding any speck of data that might pique their interests… with little success.

I mean, if I’m not feeling excited about my own data, how can I convince others that it is exciting?

Oh gosh, my mood is as gloomy as the April sky.

Maybe I need to dig deeper and harder into the data. Time to get my hands more dirty in the (data) mining field then.

And I need to keep on moving.

Problem solved?

After being put off by all the supervisory dramas for the past few weeks, I finally sat down with my two “new” supervisors (yay!) for a chat.

My previously co-supervisor is now my main supervisor and the lecturer who didn’t responded to my email… he silently read everything and left comments on my work, on top of agreeing to co-supervise me.

So, not everyone in the academia is heartless. Though I still reserve some doubts when scholars are being overly helpful and kind. Nice people scare me some times. Not sure whether their kindness are genuine at all.

The meeting lasted for 1.5 hours. While I wasn’t interrogated for my work or anything nasty of that sorts, my supervisors are concerned with the amount of data I have on hand. Same old issue, not enough sample, data is too thin… save it, I knew about this ages ago.

But for goodness sake, please don’t give me the same solution i.e. go out and do more field work!

Sometimes I question myself why did I opted for interviews as the main research design. I don’t even like to talk to people. I find it absolutely tiring to be genuinely interested in what people are saying.

Sometimes I am not even interested or paying attention to what my supervisors are saying.

Feels like I am experience a late rebellious stage in my life… just not with my parents, but with my own PhD.

Next meeting is set in two weeks time and my task for the time being is to search for interesting findings from my interviews.

My co-supervisor equate it to gold mining. He said that I am sitting on a pile of dirt now, just that I don’t know where’s the gold or how it will look like until I dig in and get my hands dirty.

I like that analogy. Getting my hands dirty (in a good way) it is then.

Self-doubt

Gotta stop changing my research questions and stick to one.

I think I might have been jumping ahead of myself when it comes to writing my thesis.

It has been almost three weeks after I met a potential supervisor to join my supervisory team, I have not heard back from him ever since I sent some of my work.

Are academics really that heartless?

I think I need to get ready to be rejected and not set such a high expectation on myself.

Losing self-confidence is the last thing I want to see happening.

Back to juicing my brain out then…

No news is good news?

It’s been a week after I sent off my work to a potential supervisor to consider whether he is interested to participate in the supervisory team.

These days, I am so afraid to even check my emails to get the replies.

Am I afraid of rejection?

Still waiting for his reply… I wonder is he even reading my work?

After speaking to a colleague over lunch last week, it made me realised many things about my ex-supervisor which was better off not mentioning them in public. Though it does confirmed my initially thought about her, and why my extreme uneasiness to work with her at times. I just want to wish her good luck, and I’ll probably feel sorry for the university that will be having her there.

I think my heart has rang the alarm bells long time ago, not to be too closed to people who you can’t truly put a finger on.

Though I found few great colleagues and form good friendships, I am still careful with my words and keeping myself from being too closed to anyone. Just a way to protect myself.

March has definitely a miserable month for me. Have not been feeling so uncomfortable meeting people and being in the uni. The last few weeks have definitely drained my energy and passion for PhD.

But I definitely won’t give up. I have too much pride in me to give up PhD so easily.