Down the rabbit hole

It’s been a while. I’ve been sucked down into a rabbit hole chasing literature. There was an expectation and encouragement from supervisors that this will happen, but it’s a delicate balance between exploring new territory and getting trapped and lost in a theoretical hole with no bottom, only infinite side burrows. While I’m not quite out the other side – still grappling with complexity/systems theory – I think i can just make out light at the end of the (this) tunnel.

Doing a phd is a bit of a existential experience and to some extent it’s something you must struggle through alone. All the big questions like ‘why am I here’, ‘what is this all about’, ‘what’s it all mean’, ‘why is this so goddamn hard’, ‘what exactly is my paradigm’.

Some good things have happened since I last checked in: my writing has evolved (okay, it sounds like I’ve reached some writing nirvana, which is certainly not the case), this is mainly through the very helpful thesis writing circle I participated in (basically, a place to learn how to write and get feedback from peers – nerve-wracking but useful). It is also much easier to rewrite stuff rather than looking at a blank page. I’ve also spent a lot of time thinking through ontology and methodology – it’s been a massive learning curve, more so than I expected.

The other great thing I’ve done is present my work in progress at a departmental phd colloquium. It’ was great to talk about it in the real world and made the whole research project feel more valid (‘oh yeah, that’s why I’m doing!). It provided an opportunity to get valuable feedback and highlight areas that, really, I don’t really have a full grasp of yet. Definitely need to be doing more conference and presentations moving forward.

My confirmation report and presentation – major milestone – will occur within 2 weeks. I’m looking forward to taking a week off to reflect, recharge and plan for years 2 and 3.