It’s currently Friday afternoon, and I’m expecting this post to be a post of two parts. Hopefully, I’ll get to the end of it by Sunday evening, but we’ll wait and see. If this post doesn’t materialise, then I’ve either consumed too much alcohol over the weekend or accidentally shot myself. It sounds like I’m about to have an action-packed weekend, doesn’t it? For someone who rarely drinks anything other than tea and coffee, and who held a gun for the first time yesterday (it was a pretend one), it will certainly be different. This weekend will see me joining a group of girls to celebrate a friend’s birthday – a full weekend of drunken madness, with a bit of hillwalking and clay pigeon shooting mixed in. I just hope I live to tell the tale.
Meanwhile, giving myself a whole weekend off comes with a mammoth task in preparation. I realised on Monday that there was very little chance of my doing any PhD work over the weekend and that I’d better crack on with it during the week. It took me a few days to figure out what I needed to focus on, but my latest supervision had made it as clear as it was ever going to be.
I decided to attack the historical developments that have occurred in my subject area – an area that dates back about a hundred years. Using a combination of the original seminal articles and some overviews of the research as written by others, I eventually reached a conclusion. It’s confusing. One article that I was sure was written in 1937, is discussed by researchers as though it was written in 1937, 1938, and 1939. Which was it? I have the article, and I still can’t decide when it was written. Why do they make it so confusing? I’m sure they have PhD researchers in mind when they write, and that this is a test of stamina.
Anyway, in two days I have managed to convert the confusion, and edit it slightly, into 2,643 words. They might not be wonderful words, but I think they tell as clear a story of the historical development of the subject as is possible at the moment. If I do accidentally shoot myself over the weekend, and somehow my work is ever published for me, don’t tell anyone when I wrote them – I’d quite like to add my own air of mystery to the subject.
It’s now Monday morning; I’m alive and, while I managed to stay sober throughout the weekend, the same can’t be said of the rest of the group. Following some table-top dancing and something to do with an invisible flute, we headed into the local village for lunch. Always looking for the links between PhD study and life in general, this weekend was not a let-down. It has taught me that even the most organised of people can sometimes get it wrong and that we shouldn’t always take the advice of others. Listen to your instincts and double check the plans before you set off on your journey. Otherwise, you might just find yourself wandering through the woodland, with your high heels stuck in the mud.
Now I’m back at work and ready to face the next task. If I get through today, tired as I am, I’ll be all set to continue my writing tomorrow. I hope to finish off the section I started last week, and make a start on showing how current developments in my area have been drawn from previous theories. If I’ve written another 2,000 words by the end of the week, I’ll be pleased with myself. All I need is time, peace and quiet, and a bit of help from my Google machine.