So, what’s your PhD about?

15 March, 2010

First I was happily unsure. Then I was more sure and less happy. Then there was a fit of gloom and despair. This sort of thing is relatively normal, mind:

“There are two classic ways of doing a PhD. One involves knowing just what you are doing; you will then go through a clearly defined path, suffer occasional fits of gloom and despair, emerge with a PhD, unless you do something remarkably silly or give up, and then proceed smoothly with the next stage of your career. The other way is the one followed by most PhD students, which involves stumbling in, wandering round in circles for several years, suffering frequent fits of gloom and despair, and probably but not necessarily emerging with a PhD, followed by wondering what to do next…”
– Gordon Rugg & Marian Petre: The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research, McGraw Hill, 2004

To cut a long story short: I went down the wrong leg of the Trousers of Time, agreeing to take on a topic that was far removed from my actual interests. It’s been a stressful few months as I tried to remedy the situation. I have changed topic and university*, and I think I’m back on the right, er, leg, a little older, a little wiser and with rather less time than I started with…

So, what is my PhD about? My Official Staff Page might answer that one.

Phew. With that off my chest, expect to see a few more blog posts now and then.

The only problem with this otherwise optimistic outcome is that I might have to move to Limerick. Could I learn to love it? I don’t know 😦

* actually, this is ongoing and will take a few months to sort out, leaving me in limbo (and off HEAnet!) for a while 😦



  1. I’ll paint you a blue sky on the inside of your umbrella.

    • Awww 😀

  2. […] worry, be happy… That said, it’s not all stress and gloom. All work and no play, […]

  3. […] Day at UCD. I cleared my desk* this week somewhat gloomily. I liked UCD, and I’m sad that it didn’t work out. Mostly, though, the thought of being academically-homeless** for a while weighed heavily on my […]

  4. […] unexpected side effect of the transfer is that I’m now in year 3 of my PhD according to UL*. I’d better get a move on, then […]

  5. […] quiet around here. Sometimes this means I’m having some kind of crisis.* Sometimes it just means I’ve actually been doing some work. This time, happily, it’s […]

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