I have no idea what has happened to the last 4 months. I feel like just yesterday I was getting ready to leave for the Camino, and now I’ve been back for two and a half months. Scary! I miss it terribly, at all times of the day. And in some ways I even miss the pain, weird as that sounds, because it was pain I could work through and feel instantly accomplished for having kept walking for a few more hours.
The thing with a PhD is that it’s long. I mean, everyone from overseas that comes here comes, at least in part, because it’s only 3 years in the UK. But 3 years is still a long time. It doesn’t sound like it, because undergrad is 3 years (in Canada it’s 4 minimum, and mine was 4.5 owing to attempting – and failing – to achieve a double major). But undergrad is a lot of different courses, and at worst the course runs for two terms and then it’s over and you’re on to something else. Essays are 4000 words and then they are over with.
A PhD is a minimum of 3 years on one single project. You can’t really understand that until you do it. At first it’s exciting to think about having that much time to just follow your interests. After a couple of years it becomes more along the lines of, as it is with me now, when will this be over? And you can’t help but feel horribly guilty for thinking it, because being here and doing this is an honour and a pleasure (most days) and a real privilege, but it’s also really long.
On a slightly more optimistic note, I am quite looking forward to the beginning of October, when all the new students come. It’s always exciting and exhilarating for those of us already here and does, for a while, inspire a productive work atmosphere. Hopefully that will last until Christmas! And then I only have to write this thing…
Currently the thing I am writing is a 10 minute conference presentation for a layman’s (but still academic) audience. And finding it rather difficult. 10 minutes is not a lot of time to get all my research across in enough depth to not leave reams of questions unanswered, but also on a level that people who have no concept of museum or digital literacy as an academic field will understand. So far, I’ve managed to get the PowerPoint done, and am struggling on the actually content (the PP was mostly photos and a few bullet points). It’s due Friday. The conference, however, is not for another two weeks.