The Office, before the cock crows, me and the cleaner. This is week two of the 'new regime' - the early bird catches the very elusive worm that is a 'Ph.D'! This particular bird has been groveling around now for the past year trying to find the kernel of a real idea, original and interesting enough to research and is bemoaning the fact she picked little magazines!
Too many, too much!
Everyone else is chatting about 'finishing this chapter' - I don't even have an outline let alone a chapter! There is time - right? Finishing year one and still being confused is normal - right?
This blog is to help me get through the stress of trying to be a Ph.D student - which isn't as easy at it may sound when you are deeply insecure and rattling around an old building full of ambulant brains! Why the allusion to the Scarlet Pimpernel - well for a year now I have been the lesser spotted Ph.D student around these parts - wandering the hallowed halls in a miasma of uncertainty, insecurity and low self-esteem. Well no one can get rid of that but me ... so this is step two in the positive steps to success guide I am creating for myself as I go along.
Step One was - a regular working routine - up and out, get a parking space ( a bit like the got to get a double seat refrain Ben Elton chanted in the 90s) and get into the office before 9 am... everyday!!! So far so good!
Step Two - find things that inspire you and encourage you to keep going! Success stories, ways of expressing yourself, allowing your feelings to escape, admitting your finding it hard, writing it down - A BLOG! So far - day one and so good!
Step Three - this one is harder, I need a more regular diet and exercise regime. Sitting on my backside for the past 7 years has done my arse no favours! I need to get fit! FIT BODY FIT MIND!
I'll stop there - I am turning into my own life coach!
I found it reassuring this weekend to read the obit of Marilyn French, who went back to university after her divorce and got her Ph.D at 42 - well I will be 44 ('ish) so this was kind of comforting - I mean MARILYN FRENCH is like a BIG name in feminist circles. B-I-G! Her first book came out five years later ( I am liking the timings of this better and better) when she was 47! Yes people read it and laugh with me - FORTY SEVEN! Older than me!! Her first book was a thesis on James Joyce - modernist supremo! So what I conclude is, it ain't over! Age is no barrier and you don't have to be born with a dictionary in your mouth to become an academic! No sireeeee! All this is reassuring when you are sat in your office, alone, on a drizzly Monday morning looking at the stack of information around you thinking - 'shit! wtf do I do with all this?'
So today's blog, the inaugural one, is dedicated to mature students everywhere, but to Marilyn French in particular who is now sadly deceased, but she is continuing to inspire divorced wannabee academics like me with her achievements!
one of my favourite quotes from MF is “Oh, God, why don't I remember that a little chaos is good for the soul?”...
a little chaos - well I can probably top that when all is said and done but I like to think that even at the ripe old age of 41 with 2 years still remaining to produce my Ph.d I am still in the race, even though I may be lagging and the bookies odds on me aren't that great - everyone loves it when the rank outsider pulls out in front after lolloping along at the back for most of the race! far more exciting than betting on a sure thing..
so place your bets... this rank outsider may surprise you all yet!