Roller coaster

I was all set to start this posting a week or so back with a metaphor of a roller coaster, prompted by this image.


The reason being I was about to embark on the third cycle (or loop) of Interviews for my project, followed by the long uphill slog (yes, I know in reality the uphill bit comes first, work with me here and it’s not clear from the picture above).

Unfortunately for the last ten days I’ve been laid  very low with a stinking cough/cold, which has taken a long time to recover from.  My GP signed me off work for a week, fortunately it was a teaching-free week.  At times like this my lungs become like two semi-inflated balloons.  It’s only this weekend that I’ve been up even to sitting at a keyboard for any length of time.

There’s also been another reason why this picture of a roller coaster is a better metaphor for me at the moment –


Specifically the downward bit.  After the great feedback on early chapters, the supervisor feedback on my literature review has been highly critical, to the point that despite hunting I can’t even find the classic ‘nice font’ type of comment.

It’s going to take me a while to recover from this to be honest.  Now I’m feeling brighter my PhD work this weekend has been focused on the data analysis using the new Dedoose tool, and reading even more books about ‘how to do’ the PhD (as if one of these will magically resolve all my issues).  I’ve had some good support from a cohort colleague, and another supervisor who has offered me a practical way forward to overcome this.  All of these though involve reviewing my supervisor’s comments, which is something that I don’t feel up to at the moment.  I have time (nine months to be precise), so maybe a few days away from it isn’t a bad thing.  Then I can put on my metaphorical armour, and do battle again.

How do I feel?  I’d be lying to say I’m feeling great about my studies at the moment.  But I’ve had low spots before, and have bounced back.  Apparently Friedrich Nietzsche said “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” – maybe he had really bad feedback on the first draft of his literature review too.



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