New bits and pieces

I’ve had this blog on ‘pause’ since 2017 and today is the first time I’ve actually felt like writing an update. So, hello there.

It’s been a while.

There’s nothing like the first of the month to start afresh. Even if it is a Friday. Also, it’s #NaWriMo which is always a good time to write. In the past I used this month for hard core, focussed, get-it-down-whatever-it-takes kind of writing, like my methods chapter for my PhD, or first drafts of conference papers. This time, post-PhD, I’m taking a different tack and would like to use this month for create some headspace for me.

I’d like to recreate this blog as something more me. Less work and more about, well, other things. I’m not quite sure what. It’s a strange kind of awakening. Who I am has been caught up entirely in what I do at work. Then, when work and the work environment becomes unbearable what happens to me? I’ve sort of been picking up the pieces and sorting through the mess of my anxiety, and I think this blog is going to be part of that process.

So, I think this blog – at least for this month, will be a mix of ‘pieces’. Bits of me that might have something to do with work, might have something to do with other things. I’ll see where this takes me. Come along for the ride.

PhD Completion Experiences

This is an archive of some of my more popular posts about PhD experiences. If you’re currently on a PhD programme I hope you find something useful to take away from my experiences.

Thesis writing: a multi-taskers nightmare

Isolation activities: thesis writing and running

Day 68: Trying out 2 different writing activities

Post-submission thoughts 1: The last few weeks before submission

Post-submission thoughts 2: Viewing leisure as yet just another “to do list” item

I had my PhD viva, and I enjoyed it. There, I said it.

Viva questions: Examples from my personal experience

Birthday week firsts: Post-party energy, driving lessons and a chiropractor visit

It’s been a great week of birthday celebrations (yay to the October-born).  With all the changes that have happened this year, I found myself caught up at the start of this semester with the “must work all the time” kind of mentality that comes with starting a new job. Not surprisingly I found myself becoming quite anxious and mentally exhausted – not a good sign given I’ve got 8 weeks left to the semester.

However this week I’ve been reminded of what actually matters by just being around people. Especially people who want to party. Considering most of my social circle is comprised of language teachers and UK HE professionals, the need for a party runs pretty high. Not party in the sense of all-nighter, lock-in binge (not really my thing) but more grab a drink and chill. I mean actually having a conversation with friends you cross paths with on campus when you’re both on your way to teach your next class but barely have the time to say hello. I don’t think I realised how much I needed to sit and hang out with people until after the party, when I felt more energised than drained. As an extreme introvert this rarely happens, and was a reminder that focussing on work all the time does nothing for anyone’s mental health.

The rest of the week was filled with other awesome experiences: first driving lesson in the UK (I haven’t driven since 2002) and my first trip to the chiropractors to deal with my first lower back twang (running related *sigh*). OK so having lower back pain isn’t awesome but going to see a chiropractor was quite calming. In all this week has been a good reminder to take a step back from work and do some self-care, especially during your birthday week!