6 Jan 2017

My PhD Story

With the start of the 2017 I promised myself that I will start talking more about my PhD studies here on my blog. This is an important part of my current life and my my life in general, so why not to share it with you? So let's start!




Since I was a child, I wanted to be a scholar. I was heads over the heels with archaeology and hoped to study it one day. But, when I passed my exams, somehow I decided to try literature studies and those four years were the best time of my life as a student! During my undergraduate studies I discovered ethnology and was fascinated by folk medicine, so I decided to work on that. My master thesis was also dedicated to folk medicine and I marched on victoriously, because there was just my PhD left and I will fulfill the dream of my childhood! But here something went wrong.


I passed the initial contest and got a position as PhD student in one of the humanities institutes. I was very happy! I had a good topic for my thesis and a nice looking plan, my supervisor is one of the best, if not the best, researchers in that particular field - what could you want more as a student? I thought so too, that's why the crisis, that usually gets a little bit "older" students, hit me while I was still in my first year. I understood that the topic that I have chosen is too wast and I wouldn't have enough time to do everything that I planned. I gathered material, attended various seminars, passed an exam and then I started to panic. I knew that I can work hard, but there was just too much of everything (did I mention that I also have a part time job in this same Institute?), so I sat down with my supervisor and talked all things through. I was told to take some vacation and do not pick up a book or an article during that period. So that was the summer when my journey to Croatia happened and it was magical! While sipping wine on the shores of Adriatic Sea, I thought of a new object for my research, and when I came back, I changed my topic, plan and everything was again OK. Only, it was not quite true.


During my first year I experienced a burnout. I had so much stress that after everything was over, I felt empty and without any motivation. But, as an old Lithuanian saying goes, an empty place doesn't stay empty for too long. My lack of motivation was filled with a extra sense of guilt. Every minute, every hour when I am doing something else than writing, I fell guilty (that's why I quoted the SAS above - they get all PhD emotions so well). Sleeping, seeing your parents, traveling abroad - all included. So guilt has become my new motivation, but in my third year I start wondering more and more - will it be enough to pull me through the rest of my studies?


PhD studies is a commitment. I think that I entered it too soon and now I'm experiencing the consequences. I know that I can pull it off (somehow. Eventually), but I feel more and more tired everyday. Maybe it's the long (loooooong) vacation that I need, or maybe some other changes, well, time will show.
   If you are planing to start PhD, you should take a look at these things that you should know before starting PhD and if you are already in your first year (don't let my post discourage you!) - here are 5 tips getting you through your first year!
   


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