Summer brought about a much needed break from uni life and I was able to get away, physically and mentally (sorta) from my PhD work.  Actually leaving Manchester and heading to Canada to visit my family for a short time was like a breath of fresh air.  The literal distance between me and my work was good.  And exhausting (as most family holidays are) but in a good way.  My family as a knack of reminding me that I’m human and that the world will continue to spin regardless of how important I believe my research to be.  And I’m thankful for that.

And now I’m in that sort of grey period of time where the term hasn’t officially started up full speed and I find myself happily easing my way into PhD “mode” through organising my calendar for the next month and taking stock for this coming year.

It’s the “taking stock” that I find quite interesting.  It involves looking back at what I’ve done over the last year, comparing it to the original plan, noting progress made and charting out a new map of where I want to be a year from now.  I’m a planner.  It’s in my blood and I do it naturally.  Not necessarily a meticulous list with multi-level bullet points but more an outline for me to use as a reference.  I find it helpful to keep track on all the different projects that I’m involved in, PhD-related and otherwise.

However I wonder at my lack of panic.  Should I feel a little anxious that I’m not as far ahead in my research as I had hoped?  Should alarm bells be ringing at the prospect that I only have a very loose A4 outline of my PhD thesis and a bunch of MindNode scribbles that count as actual writing?

Well, it is only the start of term, after all. 🙂

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