My student card expires in 2020, I am starting to wonder if that is the year I will have my next non studying holiday! I have been on annual leave this week from my day job as a lecturer in nursing, however with an impending deadline for an Impact Plan assignment it has not really felt like a holiday. I have followed advise from the twitter accounts, @phdchat and @thesiswhisperer and tried to create a routine for studying. I would describe this as trying to contain it to be honest! I had 6 days off, so I pledged on Monday, to study 3 of these days, 4 hours each day. Then leave time to walk my dog in new places, spend some quality time with my 3 children and husband, and get for my usual 30 lengths swims x 3 in the week.
Tomorrow I plan to visit some of my far flung family for a special 1st birthday party. Achieving all of this has proved so much more challenging than I thought, in my reflective diary, this is a common theme, I plan FAR too much then get frustrated at not achieving my set goals. I need to learn from this and allow more time, but where do I get this time from?! I find myself wish I was like Hermione Grainger with a time shifter that allowed me to read longer, while formatting my assignment and having a swim!
I get drawn in to reading, it always takes me much longer than I plan to really conceptualise whatever theory I am reading. I always have far too many words in my 1st draft assignment then need lots of editing time. I reach saturation point and need to stop; to be fair this is usually long after I planned to stop! I reached it half an hour ago, but feel writing this is still purposeful.
I have learned lots this week, how social theory influences impact and how to improve impact of nursing research have been my highlights in some of the books pictured below. I am feeling overwhelmed right now to reference these properly!
I had one day of really focussing on what Bastow et al (2014) describe as “pop scholars”, the gurus in your subject area. This contributed to overwhelming me, I started to question my research purpose, the gurus have published so prolifically I was left wondering what will it matter what I do? Then, I emailed my supervisor who reminded me that despite all the evidence on person centred care for older people, it is still not and probably will never be perfect. I am not naïve enough to think my research will facilitate perfection, but it could contribute to the widening perspective on what really matters and so help healthcare practitioners include this in their everyday work. That takes me back to my original motivation, my family’s general dissatisfaction of my brother’s loss of self when diagnosed and treated for aggressive cancer. I believe those who loved us and left this world continue to watch, guide and support us. They send us signs, some say white feathers in strange places is a cue.
Some will think I am mad and that is fine with me, it is back to the sense of self and this is me! I have to remind myself that my personal emotive motivation is there so when I feel like I can do no more , I can gee myself up again.
My mind has been stretched this week. I have read a lot about social media’s impact on research and building my audience apparently has to be my aim just now. No one could argue with Terras’ (2012) convincing tale of how her publications literally flew off the e shelves when she tweeted about them. I have been converted, although still a novice I will try to build up my social media presence and profile.
On twitter this week I have read lots about keeping PhD studying in context and allowing for down time. To have a balance of life and studying is really important to me. It is a tricky juggling act, but I do really love all of the bits that make up my crazy busy life, so I will continue to attempt to juggle without dropping too many balls.
However, for now I am going to go write a food shopping list, collect kids papers for delivery, go for swim, do the food shopping and then walk my dog, hopefully before dark!
Bastow, S. Dunleavy, P. and Tinkler, J . 2014. The Impact of the Social Sciences. How Academics and their research make a difference. London. Sage.
Terras, M .2012. The verdict: Is blogging or tweeting about research papers worth it? [online] available at : http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2012/04/19/blog-tweeting-papers-worth-it/ last accessed 16th October 2015