I am pleased to (finally!) be able to say that I am officially a PhD student. That might sound a little strange to those who know I began my studies more than a year ago, but the way things work at my university, you are only registered as a generic research student until after your first-year review. (This annual review is known as the dreaded RD5 here at Edinburgh Napier University*.)
Unfortunately, my own RD5 timeline got a little skewed because there were glitches in scheduling the meeting, followed by (minor) changes to my academic support team, which meant that the official form-signing bits were delayed by nearly three months.
More unfortunately, because of my own low self-esteem, I was convinced that it was all a sign that I wasn’t good enough; that I wasn’t PhD material.
It’s that second one that has really played havoc on my emotional and mental states over the past several months, meaning that I have been unable (or rather, unwilling) to blog about my studies. (It would have come across as poor-me, which no one wants to read!)
It has also meant that I haven’t been excited about my work. I allowed my fears to stop me from seeing a bright future, because I was too busy letting those same fears convince me I’d have to go back to being a waitress in my rural hometown. (Yeah, those Whatifs are kind of melodramatic in their depictions of reality.)
But now, I am feeling confident for the first time in months. I am once again looking forward to the hard work that a PhD will entail and I’m ready to re-motivate myself.
Yes, now that I am officially a PhD student, those PhD dreams have ceased feeling like nightmares.
So, what’s next?
Over the next few weeks, I will be thinking about my research methods in preparation for my empirical work. This will mean a lot of literature searching and reading (and writing, of course) but it also means that I’m starting to look into my own investigation, rather than the investigations of others.
I am also hoping that this new-found confidence and excitement will see me working in a more focused manner.
If all goes the way I hope it will, I will have a lot of great stuff to share here.
And for those who’ve been subjected to listening to my hysterical woes and fears of failure, thank you for putting up with me. Hopefully there will be less of that now.
* It’s dreaded, but it really isn’t anything to fear. In fact, I can see the benefits to the process, even though my own delay caused me much grief. But then, I do love a good administrative process. When they work.