Urghhh… I really don’t want to write today’s post because I feel horribly negative about my PhD and I don’t really want my blog to be adding to all the PhD negativity already available to you on the internet, however today it really can’t be avoided. It’s been a strange day, I feel like I have nothing to show but actually when I think about it I did some important things… but the feeling of not being able to do it is firmly hanging around.. what gives??
At 10am this morning I had my lab meeting to give. Now this isn’t the source of my stress, I’m actually at a point now where lab meetings don’t really bother me. I remember the first one I gave, I prepared for ages, went through it with my supervisor, felt very stressed… but now I’m used to them, they really do get easier with time. As I mentioned yesterday my slides weren’t quite finished so sorting them out was my first job for the day and filled my time between 8am and 10am.
So far the day seems fine right? Lab meeting done without any real stress – time to get on with my day. Well actually this is where it started to go wrong, I don’t know if I gave off a negative air in my lab meeting (maybe just my grumpy resting face?) but after the lab meeting well meaning people felt the need to dissect aspects with me, I’m all for constructive criticism and helpful discussion, I accept it as a necessary part of academia and the PhD process. However what they wanted to dissect was a side aspect of my work, this project is simply a means to an end rather than an end in itself. To be told to “stop obsessing” (I am a PhD student!) about what I hope to be a chapter of my thesis, and focus on this instead, just rattled me a little and kind of threw me off kilter for the rest of the day. I know no harm was meant but I just haven’t been able to shake the mood all day.
Anyway by the end of the “dissection” it was about 11:30am and I really was not in the mood for lab work (nightmare situation when you have a ton to do!) so I ended up floundering for a bit but then to do something productive I decided to work on my abstract for the SGM Young Microbiologist competition. My supervisor got his official invite today which is what brought it to the front of my mind. Interestingly remembering that I’m up for this award did nothing to make me feel better about my abilities as a researcher (Impostor syndrome at its finest I think you’ll agree…).
Break for a late lunch – 2-2:30pm.
By this point I still haven’t shaken off the bad mood but I did manage to tell myself to get it together and go and do some lab work, I knew I’d feel better if I could at least knock a few things off my to do list. So for 30mins I sat down and did a little planning (it helps ease my stress) and then spent 3-5:45pm in the lab getting some jobs done that have dragged on from last week. I left at 6pm in a moderately better mood.
I spent my evening doing a little bit of online soul searching, and found this post from The Thesis Whisperer. It made me feel better :).
Tomorrow is another day and I will make it count for something, starting with a new motivational desktop background and a much more upbeat attitude … until then…