Riding the PhD rollercoaster

I know it’s been said before, that doing a PhD is like being on a  rollercoaster – so many highs and lows, ups and downs.  These moments of extreme can very easily happen in the same week, day or even hour.  This past week I was feeling very satisfied with myself, being able to check off my to-do list so efficiently.  Submitting a few documents for review in the morning, I even allowed myself a few hours of couch time watching Netflix in the afternoon.  Later that night I received a few emails back with very ‘thorough’ feedback.  My brief moment of smugness was quickly exchanged for stress and self-doubt.

I’m in a phase of my PhD journey where I’m submitting applications and ethics and budgets and study plans and am so reliant on other peoples feedback.  With so many unknowns and things up in the air, my stress and anxiety is running a little high.  I realise that it would be easier if I could meet face-to-face with the people I’m partnering with but alas they are in Nepal.  I also realised this week that I should schedule a meeting with my supervisors as we have predominantly been communicating via email.  Some of my questions would be easily answered in person and it is up to me to schedule a meeting.

So, things I’ve learnt this week:

  1. This season of unknowns and stress will pass – keep pressing forward knowing it will all work itself out in the end
  2. Don’t feel guilty when enjoying some downtime – the periods of pressure and deadlines outweighs the moments of reprieve so relax and enjoy them while you can
  3. You’re not doing this alone – schedule a meeting with your supervisors to talk through the factors that are causing stress as they are there to support you and may have some great ideas and resources
  4. Things WILL work out – the process of a PhD is largely problem solving so even if your initial plan doesn’t work out, something else will and it may even be a better one in the long run

Well, that’s my advice for myself so hopefully I’ll listen to it and learn 🙂

Published by Delena-Mae PhD


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