Tag: PhD studies (Page 2 of 3)

Importance of a mental support 

I will not pretend that PhD studies/ project/ writing is a bed of roses… Be prepared for ups and downs. Sometimes you can face “systemic difficulties”… sometimes can come lack of motivation… Sometimes you can feel don’t good enough… Sometimes you can feel discouraged working with people who don’t share your values… Sometimes you can be overwhelmed with responsibilities and tired… Sometimes you can feel lonely with your struggles…

My advice – don’t stay alone! Take care about your mental support 🙂 

Who can support us in our 3-5 years PhD journey? 

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Magic of a “to do” list

One Sunday I was Skyping with my Friend and she asked me what were my plans for the next day. I answered – “You know, I will write this paper for this joint research”. She wasn’t satisfied with the answer and she asked – “can you be more specific…?” And I couldn’t answer that question… I was a little bit ashamed, because it looks that I am so well organised. In reality sometimes I forget about important elements of the self- and tasks-management… 

One of this elements is an everyday “to do” list. Sabine was talking about that, but I didn’t implement it. 

As you could see in the post about planning, I prepared almost one year plann of my PhD writing. As I realised after the talk with my Friend – it is not enough. Because all this task, and subtask are still too general (as my answer for my Firend’s question). 

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Everyone should find his/her RSA – about academic associations 

Last week I attended the PhD students & Early Career Conference organised by the Regional Studies Association (RSA) and I had very interesting conversations with Michael Taster – he is on the second year of study on a “collaborative award PhD entitled The Production and Reproduction of Policy Relevant Spatial Knowledge and New Publication Techniques: A Case Study of Regional Studies. A project which brings together funding and collaboration from the Regional Studies Association, Taylor & Francis, the Economic and Social Research Council and the University of Sheffield in order to investigate the ways in which academics are responding to changes in scholarly communications” – It is what he said in the beginning of his presentation. By the way – it needs to be very nice feeling to have so many funding and collaboration institutions to mention 😉

During the conference dinner he asked me – “How did you find out about the RSA?” 

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Conferences – what for do we participate in them?

I have two different pictures of the reasons what for people go for the conferences – Polish one and let’s call it “international” one. 

Bellow the photo from the international conference which I attended this week (of course I blurred it because I didn’t asked people if I can publish their faces)

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Secret notebook – about research project development 

After my first year of the PhD studies I was with my Friend on a Summer School. One day we went to a museum and he had bought as a souvenir little, green notebook with an eye (if I good remember). He told me that he would note there his brilliant ideas 🙂 

Few months later we were together on a conference. He had his little, green notebook and he made some notes there, when speakers told something interesting, inspiring, important… 

Few months later I come up with an idea of my PhD project (version 3.0). I thought that if I had wanted to treat this project seriously and I had wanted to develop it I should have a notebook where I could write my ideas and notes and comments of people with whom I talked about my research project. Below the first page of that “secret notebook” – “PhD thesis. Concept 3.0”:

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“Side projects” dilemma 

What do I call a “side project”? As I taught my students in Bremen – always define the used terms in the beginning of your paper to be sure that you and your readers think about the same things. The “side project” for me is everything what we do and what is not directly connected with our PhD project, for example:

  • Your supervisor asked you to wrote some paper for his/ her conference
  • A colleague from your department is a book editor and asked you to write a book chapter
  • Your professor asked you to be a book chapter co-author
  • Your colleague from studies asked you to work on some parts of his/her research project
  • Someone invited you to joint research and a paper writing afterwards
  • You applied for a scholarship abroad with other research project than your final PhD project
  • You found some interesting volunteering opportunities
  • Your Professor asked you to assist her/his courses
  • You received financial grant for a summer school (10 days somewhere)

Topics of papers/ research / activities can be related with your PhD research but not necessarily.

Take a part or not take a part in the “side project”?

It is hard question to answer.

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Ups I did it again! – About importance of the breaks

As I and my Husband say – “It is easier to give advices, than to apply your own advices” 

During a work on the joint paper I forgot about an important aspect of my new work system – breaks after every 90 minutes of the work. Or maybe it is better to say that I ignored it. Because I had my tree planted for 90 minutes and I was counting time in my teamwork, so I exactly knew when 90 minutes passed. 

And what? And nothing.

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When enough is enough? – about a literature review

It is a question which I still don’t know how to answer….
I have this tendency, and I am not sure if it is because curiosity or perfectionism, that I want to include in my writing (no matter if it is a thesis or a paper) almost all literature which exists in a particular topic. I am totally crazy with “original sources” (my students from Bremen know something about that ;)), that is why I always try to go to this very old books, and papers, and read them by myself than “cite someone who cite someone”, and rely on what other people wrote about this or that work. In the end I spend hours going from one book to another, from a reference list in one article to dozens of new pdf. downloaded, and it is like a ”never-ending story”….

And I always ask myself the question – when enough is enough?

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How to implement a new work system?  

It doesn’t work like that – “I will wake up tomorrow morning and I will change everything!”

It is more like long-term and cumulative process.

I’ve started my “process of change” when I was 17 from the book “Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom” by William Glasser M.D. (more about William Glasser and “Choice Theory”, see William Glasser Institute). I understood in that moment, that my life can be different. And this “process of change” has been about all life dimensions.

The “process of change” speeded up when I started my PhD studies. I faced new situations, new challenges, new people, new responsibilities, new requirements. During my first year I attended “Breathwork” workshops by Michał Godlewski (more about “Breathowk” see the book “Rebirthing and Breathwork” by C. Dowling, and more about “Mindfulness” concept see the article “Mindfulness: A Proposed Operational Definition” by Scott R Bishop et al.) and this technique helps me to work with emotions and previous experiences and to release suppressed emotions, feelings, memories, and free myself from living in the past, and be more conscious and grounded in present life.

Year in Bremen (I will write separate post about that) changed more than I could imagine, and to be honest – it was like a sprint right after a marathon. A lot of “processes of change” which I had started before just speeded up dramatically during Bremen-time to bring me in some nice, stable, normal, calm space/ time/ place in my life.

Huge changes comes from small  everyday decisions and consciousness in our acting.

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Good plan is a half of success

as we say in Polish.

Also Sabine Lerch underlined importance of a good plan and preparation phase. She showed as how to divide our projects on the smallest possible tasks and then plan how much time and other assets we need to invest.

My old PhD writing plan:

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To organise and plan my work, and to control time spent on different types of tasks (to help myself plan similar tasks in future) I use teamworkprojects application (probably there is a lot of similar applications, this one recommended me my Husband). I can make a list of main tasks of my PhD project, and smaller tasks and the smallest one (I use free 2-project version, where the first project is my PhD, and the second one – so called “side projects”. I plan deadlines and time which I estimate to spend on the task. And  I can control my work progress every week checking reports 🙂

To be able to write this post, I needed to motivate myself to plan new version of my PhD project – Sabine would be proud of me 🙂 I divided my work on PhD into parts (chapters), and then a work on each chapter I divided into subtasks, and I set deadlines, and estimated time spend. If I work according this plan I should finish in the mid-July 2017…

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