Thursday, 13 June 2013

seventy steps of shame

My PhD supervisor's office is on the third floor of an old building without a lift.  I counted the other day - there are 70 steps up, with a particularly steep flight of stairs between the second and third floors.  I've developed a habit of pausing, twice, on my way up so as not to arrive breathless and sweaty in their office - I'm sure they're heartily sick of visitors' complaints!  I suspect however, that my stair-climbing routine is not only for their comfort, but also something to do with the complex, tacit and occasionally uncomfortable powerplay at work in the supervisory relationship.  After all, if I arrive literally unable to speak, my voice can't be heard.  

Developing my own voice within my writing has been something I've been working on this year - and the work continues!  Ensuring my voice is heard in the shaping of my empirical research is a whole new - and quite honestly - unexpected - project and I have a feeling I'm just at the start of it!  As with many things 'PhD', these territorial scuffles are a part of the journey for which the directions are imprecise, everyone will have their version of the 'right' way to get from A-B. 

Back to that staircase....I may have a strategy for going up those stairs, but going down them can be a different matter.  Last week, they became the 70 steps of shame after a bruising supervisory session.  Bruising you understand, only to a fledgling academic intellect and a fragile ego.  Ten days later and I'm still assessing and working through the impact.  I'm assailed by all those feelings doctoral students experience - I'm not good enough, I can't do it....I recognise that the downer has come as such a shock because only a month earlier I'd finally felt I was making some real progress, getting a grasp of the literature, developing my own voice in my writing.  No doubt you'll tell me this is all part of the journey too, detours and dead ends are essential!

No comments:

Post a Comment