Mid-year thoughts

And suddenly it’s August.

So much has happened this year. I’ve organised a national festival. I’ve been to my first international conference. Went to a summer school in the US (my first trip to the States), run professional development workshops for local teachers, tutored my first course (and am now doing a second), competed in the 3 minute thesis competition, been to a writers retreat, bought an apartment, begun my fieldwork, and so many other little things.

As far as my goals go, my weight loss one started off really well, but has fallen by the wayside somewhat in recent months. I haven’t put on much of the weight I took off, but definitely some, and I still haven’t lost as much as I wanted to. On the plus side though, my fitness goals are coming along really well. I am running at least once a week, and more usually 2 times (3 is still an amazing week, but I’m aiming for it). I have a fun run coming up in September, and I am hoping to change up to the 10km course (I’m currently signed up for the 5km one). I’m actually running that 5km pretty comfortably now and ran my fastest session this afternoon.

As far as my other goals go:
–   I’m still working on that journal article… I hope to have it in final-isn draft form my the end of next week (but I’m struggling). The writing retreat was great to get the words on paper, but I absolutely hate editing, and that’s where I’m up to with it.
–  I haven’t been hiking this year, but hopefully I will once the weather warms up
–  I have been baking more, which with the weight loss mostly means that my SOs work has had a lot of baked goods…
–  Nothing is organised at the moment. Oh well.

For the next few months, I’m just hoping to keep things at the status quo. No big attempts at changing anything for a while – my priority has to be the research.

Here’s hoping it’s smooth sailing for a while.

Until next time 🙂


Imposter Syndrome

Really I could write forever about this. But I’ll try to not make it too whingey.

Yes, I suffer from imposter syndrome. There, I said it.

Like most PhD students, I have the constant feeling hanging over me that it’s all a mistake. I got to where I am because of a mistake and I’m only pretending that I’m able to do all these things.

Contrary to expectation, this gets worse the more I succeed at things.

At the moment, I’m going through what most would consider (from the outside) to be an amazing stroke of good luck, and hard work paying off. I have people asking me to be involved in my research, I’m leading workshops for government programs, I’ve won two scholarships to go overseas (one to present my work, the other for training) and I’m halfway through my exegesis. Which to some part of my brain means that I’m just trying to fool more and more people, and someone will find out eventually.

I’m terrified of every single event I have coming up. Logically I know that I shouldn’t be.

I do try to talk to people about it. I try to find support, but because it’s imposter syndrome, the usual answer of “you’re amazing, look at all this stuff you’re doing” actually is evidence to the contrary to me. And the response “don’t worry, you’ll be fine” feels like people are dismissing my problems, with no attempt to actually understand them. I know. Unfair thinking on my part.

I don’t have an answer for this yet. Oh sure, I find plenty of temporary answers – cups of tea, complaints to friends, typed rants on the internet, running, meditating and so on. But they are all just bandaids. I hope that I can find something longer lasting soon.

If you’re in the same position, I’m happy to chat about it. I find truth in “a problem shared is a problem halved” – even if it’s only for a few minutes.



One hell of a year

Well that was one hell of a year. It happened so quickly, and so much happened in it.

The good news is that I did manage to achieve some of my goals last year. These were my goals for 2015:

Continue with fitness goals (I ran my first 5k!)
Achieve all first year PhD requirements
Submit an article to a journal and a conference paper (and I presented it)
Downsize things and get rid of unnecessary things (this was an accident. I moved house twice)
Make more things
Buy less stuff
Go to Scotland
Keep things organised
Go hiking as much as possible
Cook/bake more
Enjoy life

And I managed to have fingernails for most of the year.

This year I have already lost 10kg, and have had a massive number of successes with my study… too many really, but that’s the subject of another post.

Once again, I hope to keep this blog more active this year so I can practice my writing, and have a space where I can real talk about the things that are going on through this PhD and personal growth journey.

Until next time.

Giving up and picking up habits (and yoga)

I’ve been thinking extensively about my New Years resolutions for 2015 and my successes and failures in my resolutions for 2014.

I’ve decided it all pretty much comes down to one thing: being the person that I want to be. And that, for me, is all about picking up the habits that I want, and ditching the habits I don’t want. In 2014, I managed to ditch one habit I hated and pick up a good one. The one I ditched was tearing my fingernails (for the first time in my life I have nice looking fingernails) and the one I picked up was thinking about fitness. It doesn’t seem like much, but for me thinking about something constantly is the best way to guarantee that I’m going to follow through on it.

So. I’m going to aim to pick up one habit and ditch one habit each month this year (they say it takes 28 days to acquire or lost a habit – takes me longer but we’ll work with that). For January, I have picked up a yoga habit, and I have ditched my going to bed late habit.

In February I hope to ditch my habit of being late, and pick up the habit of drinking water.

What habits could you stand to lose? And what habits would you like to gain?

Happy New Year!

Happy New Years to all! Sorry for the radio silence, I’ve been flat out moving a couple of my goals along.

At the end of October I submitted my Masters thesis, and immediately applied for a PhD. After an excruciating waiting period, I’ve been awarded First Class Honours and a High Distinction for my thesis, and have been admitted to the PhD program. I will officially begin my PhD in February.

I’m working at putting together my list for New Years Resolutions. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Continue with fitness goals
Achieve all first year PhD requirements
Submit an article to a journal and a conference paper
Downsize things and get rid of unnecessary things
Make more things
Buy less stuff
Go to Scotland
Keep things organised
Go hiking as much as possible
Cook/bake more
Enjoy life

I’m yet to plan out how exactly I’m going to achieve all these things, but there’s my list for now.

What’s on your New Years resolution list?

Why does feedback hurt sometimes?

This is a great post which practically responds to exactly how I’m feeling at the moment with my thesis edits. Feedback can be very difficult to deal with sometimes.

The Thesis Whisperer

This letter was written by an experienced academic at ANU to her PhD student, who had just presented his research to a review panel and was still licking her wounds.

The student sent it to me and I thought it was a great response I asked the academic in question, and the student who received it, if I could publish it. I wish all of us could have such nuanced and thoughtfu feedback during the PhD. I hope you enjoy it.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 7.27.05 PMA letter to…My PhD student after her upgradeWell you did it. You got your upgrade. But from the look on your face I could tell you thought it was a hollow victory. The professors did their job and put the boot in. I remember seeing that look in the mirror after my own viva. Why does a win in academia always have the sting of defeat?

Yeah, it’s a…

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Goal #1 – Fitness

My first goal, is fitness. I know, not particularly original. I really love hiking, and one day would like to climb the highest mountains on each continent. At least. Really, I just love getting away and into the wilderness and the ability to carry everything I need to survive. I also love kayaking, rock climbing and abseiling, swimming, and just being outdoors in general.

When I was little I was very involved in a lot of sport: swimming, cross country running, netball, soccer (football) and riding my bike every weekend. Now though, study and work have taken over everything and I spend more time than I would like in front of a computer, and eating (especially chocolate). I am still not overweight, I’m fairly normal really, and I don’t have any major body image issues (outside of the usual), but my fitness is almost non-existent.

I want to improve all areas of my fitness. I am a member of a gym, and I have sessions with a personal trainer, although both of these are more sporadic and less focussed than I would like. I have had both of these since November 2013. Now that the major part of my study for the year has wrapped up I want to work on getting into really good habits and a routine for fitness.

I want to come up with a plan to build strength and muscle at the gym, and combine it with other cardio exercises such as running. At this stage, my plan looks something like this:

Monday – Walking/running
Tuesday – Training session
Wednesday – Bootcamp/Gym
Thursday – Gym
Friday – Walking/running
Saturday – Bootcamp #2
Sunday – Gym

My gym sessions are based on a plan from my trainer, they are fairly rounded and are a full body workout. The bootcamps are a great combination of strength and cardio, and they’re also a bit social (only a bit) which works well for me.

I do also wear a Jawbone UP, which is helpful for tracking what exercise I do. Basically I aim for 10,000 steps every day, although I’m making an agreement with myself that if I get to 20,000 I don’t have to have a gym session that day.

The goal in figures is like this: I want to be able to carry 30kg (66lb) for 20km (12mi) of steep terrain fairly easily. I will test this as often as I can by going hiking with my partner and his friend.

Thesis last efforts

So tomorrow is the day I submit my thesis to my supervisors.  Then I’ll get seven days to complete all the other sections (like contents pages, acknowledgements and so on), before I get their comments back, a few days to make those changes and then it all goes to the examiners.

Here’s a couple of thoughts that I’ve had lately about the process.

1. Keep going.  There will always be good things and bad things, easy and hard things, and it can seem like there are far too many to handle.  But keep going and you’ll get there.  Build up your momentum and you can’t be stopped.

2. Don’t forget the rest of your life.  Don’t abandon your diet plan, budget, partner, chores, alone time, time with friends, anything like that, in order to work solely on something.  Some of these things may have to be less frequent than before for a while, but don’t ever abandon them. You need them.  All.  Time management is key.

3. You have more time than you think.  It’s all about efficiency.  Hours in a day aren’t infinite, true, and there are a lot of people who are very very busy people.  My parents wonder how I manage to do all the things that I do, with the same amount of time as them.  The answer is that I do things that are of value to me, and not the things that are of value to them, or that they do out of habit.  Like watch 4 hours of television every night. Don’t get me wrong, I watch TV shows when I want to, and I waste time on the internet or doing many other things.  But I also know what things need to be done, and I set daily goals and plan time for time wasting.

4. Have faith in yourself.  You can do it.  No, really, achieving goals takes a lot of work, but that’s all it is, work.  Believing that you can, or that you’re doing well, even if you’re not entirely convinced, will help you have the motivation to continue and achieve.

5. Doubt is normal.  This is the most important lesson I have learnt over the past two weeks.  I went through (and am still going through) a period  of self-doubt about my abilities as a researcher, as a writer, as a linguist and of course about everything else.  My supervisors have said that they both went through it, and still go through it frequently.  My friends have gone through it.

I’ll sum up with the very helpful words of an author, lecturer, and all round awesome person, Bronwyn Parry “Trust yourself… Uncertainty is actually a good thing when studying data – it means you’re really studying it, not just looking for what you want to see in it. Knowledge advances through questions and doubt and more questions.”

And now I must take my own advice and Keep Going!

Hello world…

This is my first post on this blog, my welcome to the world post, and  I am afraid it must start with a confession.  I am procrastinating.  I have less than 300 words to write to reach my goal word count for my thesis (and many more I could write) and yet, I am starting a blog.  At this stage in my life, this is fairly typical of me.

I hope that in the future I will be more motivated to move and be able to focus on the things that should be done rather than the things which I just do for the sake of it.

My next few posts will hopefully be baselines for each of the different areas I wish to improve on in my life.

Now, back to writing!