The challenge of writing a PhD blog

It’s July.


… Wait, what?! Where has the time gone? It seems like only yesterday I was writing an entry for this blog. Turns out that was actually 5 months ago! That’s nearly half a year. Woah, I feel slack.

I surprisingly did not expect that writing a blog during my PhD would be difficult, but boy, was I wrong! The last five months have been busy, and I had been constantly looking at the bookmark on my browser that said ‘PhD Blog’, but I never seemed to find the time to write it. On reflection, however, i’ve had heaps of time to write it. All those days where i’ve come into the office and sat in front of the computer screen, staring at it blankly, wondering where to start. But it’s so much easier to say that I could have done it than to actually do it. That said, i’m going to start scheduling in a time, perhaps every two weeks, to write a blog post and hold myself to account. Surely that will be doable!

So what has been happening over the past five months? Well…

I’ve presented my PhD research in a proposal format to transition from provisional to full candidacy. The presentation went really well and I had some great feedback about some of the ethical difficulties I was having with the research, as well as some tips for responses to the ethics committee to ensure I can actually undertake the research. Although presenting your research to a group of your colleagues, fellow postgrads and people interested in your topic doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s felt like a huge milestone. I felt a huge sense of relief in getting this done, and it’s helped counter some of the crappy imposter syndrome i’ve been feeling lately, which is always a win.

As well as presenting my PhD proposal, i’ve also had my first ever journal article rejection. To say I was a bit gutted was an understatement. I sent a journal article from my Master’s thesis off to a well-respected journal and heard back from them in May. I was disheartened to say the least, especially as I had presented my work at their annual conference the year prior and had amazing feedback at the conference from people that attended my session. That said though, I left the feedback sitting in my email inbox for a few weeks, and managed to rustle up the courage to incorporate it into the article and have now sent it off to another journal that looks to be more aligned with the themes in the article, so fingers crossed!

Also, I sent off my first ever book chapter to the editors for inclusion in an edited book on fat women’s lived experiences in May this year! I’ve recently completed the changes for this chapter and am awaiting peer review of the full manuscript. I actually feel like a real academic! It’s hard to say how awesome it feels to know that I have achieved it, so i’m feeling pretty good about that too.

Amongst my academic achievements, i’ve also managed to adequately balance my work and social life, which has previously not been an easy task for me. So as I reflect on the first paragraph I wrote in this post about feeling slack – i’m thinking I should cut myself some slack. I’ve been busy. And I haven’t felt like i’ve had the time to contribute to a blog. But i’m going to hold myself to account and ensure that this is done regularly, because if I do that, that’s another thing i’m achieving. And achievement feels¬†good.¬†