PhD and me – i level

The “i” in your PhD team: it is within

This blog is aimed at post-graduate level students (like me) who are wrestling with their research positioning or procedures, and facing the unknown. Moments when becoming self-reliant lives best within your wider team.

We are all potentially on the same team, yet we are each alone with others in shared pursuit of what is unknown. Shine a light on the “i” in team if you are to survive your PhD.

You are your PhD, and this is the “i” in team I am pointing to in this blog post. Depicted above to infer a spotlight behind the team that reveals that “i”. I am lucky to be able to say my supervisors are fantastic, as that core of my wider team. Without them I would have no hope of successfully navigating this PhD journey. However, being alone is a key part of the PhD research process. It is this sense of isolation which I am now seeing more clearly – revelling in this aloneness as a fearful empowerment – once the navigational unknowns are those we all share.

This prompts another spotlight metaphor. That of a map of knowledge one is navigating by, but at that moment it starts to run out of roads. A PhD is required to contribute something new. It is inevitable therefore that if one chooses exploration (rather than confirmation) as a basis of research, then eventually the maps are not so well drawn. The conceptual, methodological, or assumed correct dimensions of the map will have blank spaces or false ends. And as with all approximations in early maps, the tendency is to draw a dragon or a compass on what is not known.

Eyes wide open therefore to new means to see; new cartography, or necessary changes to the maps now outgrown. A few personal demons to overcome perhaps; and a readiness to vanquish mapped dragons by shinning a new light upon the unknown. It will be here that the “i” in team is shown.

…to be continued