I’m told that once you’re through your first review, you might slump a little. You might struggle to get back into the swing of research after the decompression of the end of First Year. It might seem like you’ve climbed one mountain, only to be told that there’s another peak a little further up. Then another. Then another. It can be a bit of a knock-back.
So, I’ve had my slump. It’s been a tough month anyway, with moving house, jobs all over needing cover, other family issues, and so on, but for weeks now I haven’t been working with the vigour and energy I had been last term. It’s been a few weeks of reading a bit, writing even less, and feeling…not much about the PhD. It’s been there, sure, but it hasn’t been at the forefront of things like it seems to be for many other people.
Thankfully, this seems to be temporary for most people. Many people find that after a few weeks they simply slip naturally back into their normal work rhythm. Others find that talking with their colleagues and supervisors helps. A great piece of advice I was given this time last year was “remember why you want this PhD”.
I want this PhD so I can add to my CV, so I can feel I’ve reached that pinnacle, so I can put Dr Johnson on everything and pretend I wrote a dictionary, so I can feel I’ve earned respect and the right to believe my work is worth reading. Because I love my subject, and because it will make a difference.
That’s been my mantra the last few days, as the weather darkens and freezes.
And now, here I am! I’ve been in the library, researching, burning through archival material (not literally, I’m not a monster!), and writing a little here and there.
So, don’t let that slump bring you down! You’ll get through it. Just remember the reasons you’re doing this in the first place.
If you have an experience to share, if you have any advice, or you just think we’re missing something you care about, then get in touch! Email me, Jimmy, on firstname.lastname@example.org or hit us up on Twitter!