Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Top 3 Lessons I Learned from Hilary Term & Easter Vac 2012

Well, it's nice to be blogging again.  On Friday, I very happily submitted my sample chapter and outline as part of my transfer to DPhil status procedure.  I'm rather pleased with how my first chapter turned out and feel I've learned a lot by writing, revising, and polishing it.  Also, I'm very happy I don't have to look at it again for awhile.  It feels strange and liberating to be able to turn my gaze to the mysteries and wonders of ... Chapter Two.

So, without futher ado, here are the Top Three Lessons I Learned from the last term:

1)  Don't mess with a good thing.  You see, I came into Michaelmas Term with great expectations for myself.  I decided that since the DPhil is rather unstructured, I would track all the hours I was putting in, so that I would know if I had done enough or not.  Of course, I think I only counted one week that term in which I worked "enough" but I always knew how much I was working, whether or not I was having a really slack week, etc.  Hilary Term, I let the hours-tracking slide, in favour of being "goal oriented."  This was a bad idea.  To this day, I have no idea how much I worked in Hilary.  I suspect it was rather less than in the previous term.
  • Goal for Trinity: Track hours again!
2)  Don't rush it.  I've finally realized that I'm doing academic work that requires time to sit and steep.  In undergrad and even in my Master's courses, I was able to cram a whole lot of writing into a very short period of time.  (There were no all-nighters involved; I have yet to commit an all-nighter).  Now, however, it really doesn't pay to rush the writing.  Ideas and words need to sit and be reconsidered and tested.
  • Goal for Trinity: Write a bit most days.  Do not fear the writing and put it off - that just increases stress.
3)  Don't confuse life/work balance and procrastination.  I think I went too easy on myself last term.  I think I spent too much time not working while convincing myself that this state of affairs was okay.  I also kept very irregular hours, sometimes only really starting in on my work day at 7:00 pm.  Not good.
  • Goal for Trinity: Keep more regular hours.  Try to put in something like 9 to 5 days, so that evenings and weekends can be guilt-free.

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