Stay on target, stay on target…

The ‘exit velocity’ that I mentioned in my previous post has continued apace.  I’ve got five sub-sections littered through my thesis, each of about 500 words each, and then my first draft will be completed.  To find these gaps I’ve had to reread an awful lot of it, and you know, some of it actually makes sense to me.

I’ve got a strategy with my supervisor about what happens next, which involved me heading up to Lancaster to receive feedback on draft before making the final changes.  I’m also looking around for an external examiner, whilst this is ultimately the job of my supervisor, it’s worth me nudging in the right direction.

This weekend has been a mixture of early-morning PhD, socialising, planet watching, and headaches. The headache has been almost ever-present, and I’ve done most of my other activities through a fug of my right temple throbbing away.  This afternoon I gave up, took two of my most powerful painkillers, and retired to bed for a few hours, waking well enough to iron ten shirts and make this post.

This article appeared in my Twitter timeline, and whilst it is focused upon full-time doctoral students, and I’m not going to blame all of my symptoms on my studies, it does make interesting and worrying reading.  I’m not naive enough to think that once my PhD is filed in the library at Lancaster University I’ll lose four stone, sleep eight hours a night and be singing this all the time –

But my family, friends and I are enjoying exploring options post-PhD.  I’ve been studying pretty well constantly for over twenty years, taking ‘A’ levels with the National Extension College, my degrees with the OU (one for work, one for fun), my MA in Education through BCU, and now PhD.  It’ll be nice not to have a deadline hanging over me.

Three small ‘and finally’ notes to this post.  For complex reasons my parents had to house-sit for me last week, and ‘had’ to head to my home-office to find a pen.  They were horrified to find some empty plates and mugs littering my desk, and were shocked to find that I eat and drink up here.  They have no idea, if I’m focused I eat, sleep drink and only wander downstairs to the kitchen to forage.  Maybe a mega-tidy will be due post-PhD, though I do think an element of chaos is needed in any office.

Secondly, I’m pleased to say that my University has agreed to fund me going to the Networked Learning Conference, and I’m looking forward to catching up with some of my PhD buddies (and other cohorts).

Finally, a good friend of mine pointed me towards an application that darkens your screen to an appropriate level for working at night, based on local sunset and sunrise.  I’ve installed it on my main machine, setting it for ‘Tungsten’ level and really like the effect.  I can’t promise it makes me sleep better, but I can see a lot of logic behind it.  Just remember to turn it off if you’re watching movies or Skype chatting, as otherwise everyone looks like an oompa loompa.


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