Tuesday, August 22, 2017

My PhD Journey - Musing #1 - why is the sunrise not pink?

I am a PhD student at the University of Southern Queensland. This is my 5th year of study (part time!) and my very first blog post about this study. Completing a PhD is a surreal experience - and as everyone has been telling me, it is a journey. I am ony just starting to appreciate the significance of this journey and, without putting yet additional pressure on myself (or my family), have decided to blog once a week.....on Tuesday's.... to share my thoughts and experiences. 

Questioning is what I do on a daily basis now - I question myself, I question my ability to actually complete this degree, I question my understanding of many things - and this morning as I got up early (5:45am.....a sleep in for me) I questioned why the sunrise (pic taken from our bedroom balcony) is not pink? I asked my husband, who is the proud owner of an Aldi (National Geographic!) telescope, which he managed to put together but cannot work....everything is still blurry.....(like my life), and the font of all knowledge - but he does not know. Anyway...here is a picture of the start of a new day here in Ocean Shores......minus the pink clouds.

Every day I question why I am doing this PhD.....and every day the answer is pretty much the same: I am determined to share my enhanced understanding of and leadership around online global collaboration beyond the classroom, pragmatic experience. I am determined to become an academic and be able to share how important new pedagogical practices are for eductors to consider and adopt across the world. There, it's simple really! So, my determination has got me this far....I hope it lasts until the end.

Until the end of last year I was enrolled for an EdD - simple I thought, 4 years in and out, get the degree and move on. But oh no, it was not to be. I can never do anything significant in 4 years. My first Masters degree (by research) in the 1990's took nearly 9 years, with a pregnancy and birth of my daughter Violet Rose after the first submission, and a significant rewrite and second submission the year after that. My second Masters degree (by course work) I almost made the 4 years....a little over as we moved countries (from Kuwait to Bangladesh) and I had to drop dwon to one subject a semester for a while to cope.

So, realising my '4-year' dream was just that, my supervisors suggested I apply for a PhD degree instead...and here I am - still on the same journey, just with a ittle more global status perhaps?

More than 2 years ago I formally presented my proposal, rewrote that for submission (my life is full of rewrites!), was confirmed as a doctorate student, applied for and received ethics permission and then started the real work. Right now I am at the stage where my data collection is done, my interviews are transcribed, and I am actually writing the chapters and analysing the data - albeit badly (rewrites are my trade mark).....but from what I hear, this is not uncommon. Shout out to Pat Thomson who ran a Thesis Writing Bootcamp at USQ Toowoomba last year. I attended in great anticipation, and did get some inspiration, however she warned us - your first drafts will be sh****, keep rewriting, keep moving on.

A friend at CSU where I currently work full time (yes, there are 48 hours in some of my days....I wish) completed her PhD in over 10 years and of course has her own personal PhD journey to share, shout out to Lyn Hay who TODAY is graduating - congratulations! I admire and envy you....and I am hoping, wishing, planning not to take 10 years, but the journey is ongoing. 

So, my 20 minutes is up. I feel better for having shared something about this journey....it has almost been like I am frozen, I find it hard to verbalise and write about what I am going through. Maybe this is normal? I used to be a regular reflective and sharing blogger....maybe this is the first step in adopting that practice again, at the PhD level (LOL). 

See you next Tuesday......

Julie Lindsay
Struggling PhD student

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