Phd Journey

Baby Steps

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I have officially been on this PhD journey for over 12 months. As a part time, distance student I should be learning to crawl right about now. But I am pushing forward, trying to walk before I have the balance and strength in my legs. I want to get his PhD thing going, but life gets in the way.

Do you ever feel like you are taking one step forward only to get knocked back down? It can be the confusion and fog of finding that research question. You know the one that people ask you at a dinner party or at a family gathering. You fumble and mumble something and you watch as your friend glazes over and politely goes to refill her drink. Or it might be the challenge of finding clear time and space to work with your supervisor, to ask the right questions, to get your hands on ‘the’ resource.

I have had many setbacks. Moments of discouragement. Feelings of fear and anxiety about committing so much time to the beast that we know and love, the PhD.

Recently I had a moment of clarity. I am passionate about creativity and know that if I am not expressing my creative self in some way, ordinary or extraordinary – think domestic goddess meets consultant guru – I start to quietly, shrivel. So accepting an invitation to rethink this PhD thing and create a project as a basis for my research has unleashed new energy for me. It has refocused my reading and writing and allowed me to explore the research with new vigor.

I discovered this qualitative research resource from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In particular I have found the idea of portraiture engaging and an interesting addition to my inclination to work with narrative inquiry. As a writer, a researcher and an educator I am fascinated how the very process of telling stories and recreating narratives offers power and potency; presents the reader with knowledge, while troubling our understanding of who we are.

So I do think I am starting to walk? Slowly. Baby steps.

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