the pre-start start
A few weeks into my PhD, now. Still finding my way. I have prepared a detailed plan of a year ahead. However, beyond my detailed reading I remain blissfully ignorant of what is coming. This is preparing to report to my boss perhaps, but that is no-one but myself…
👀where to start🔜💬🏁
The truth is I find myself writing this blog as a procrastination. Much as such planning to extreme is another example. I know well how this goes. It is my weapon of choice when facing cognitive dissonance. That feeling of angst when upheaval is all around, and yet the revolution or evolution is happening without outward sound. And these are moments of great dissonance – for I sit upon a perch between two truths that cannot both be – truths that are only living internally within me. I perversely enjoy this feeling. I admit it. I delight in its possibility. I also know by experience the danger of forever pondering. It is time now to mobilise, and acknowledge distraction.
🆘What’s your problem?🆚🛅
The truth is I have a problem. Gloriously and beautifully so. It is all consuming, and lives with me night and day. Yet, despite its presence it is refusing to announce itself in any meaningful way. This, I am assured, is completely normal. It is also good discipline to be writing all this down. This blog therefore lives as a moment of learning, for me. One of the many I am signed up for, and am excited to see.
📖The brain-fart start🧠💨
The truth is I am my problem. At least that is how it presently feels to me. Another week begins in my PhD journey, and I am so very far yet from the start. I am being asked the most basic of questions about my idea, as a problem. And every answer I offer sounds and reads more like a brain fart [sic]. All completely normal I am assured.
📚learning to learn (again)🤹♂️🧩🎯
The truth I have learnt first is that initially “the problem is the problem” – a phrase I borrow gratefully from Steven Terrell, PhD (2016). His, one of many guides I have sought counsel from as I arrive and begin the process of trying to mentally unpack. Not only is the problem “the problem”, it is a nest of problems from which choices must be made and by which academia can prepare its many options in its attack. But that is much later. Right now, the problem is the problem. And as to its clarity: well it is contained deep inside somewhere – or living upon another’s page.
🔭Crack-up, to crack-down🔬
Truth be told, it’s been two weeks and if “the problem” – my research purpose – is opening up, it is only by the smallest of cracks. Which is just fine. More time to read, more time to write. This is all part of the careful preparation long before the real starting line.
…to be continued.