How to survive your PhD? Has there ever been a better MOOC title ? Apparently 10,000 other people from across the globe think that this MOOC is worth doing and I am one. I am a MOOC newbie. Learning fast how to work online and use a range of tools to connect, reflect and invite discussion.
It is already week 2 and the content has been rewarding. A combination of new ideas and an overwhelming sense of receiving a group hug from a collective PhD student body. United by the fact that we are undertaking research, entering into the doctoral wasteland of our university, juggling family, work, and a myriad of real life issues – some that threaten our very existence (health, divorce, finance) – all at the same time, has encouraged people to rally.
Confession. This is my second attempt at a PhD. Yes, stand back and watch as she attempts the doctorate for the second time. Will she do it? No one really knows.
The last time I succumbed to the unbearable pressure of too much work, researching while pregnant, birthing, breastfeeding and on no sleep, moving overseas and well, the rest is history. I do regret not persevering the first time around. I know I would have had that PhD by now and may have been able to leap frog into something amazing. BUT…I would not have had my tribe whom I cherish and the wisdom that comes with doing life. Doing real life.
So second time around I bring to the table more experience, determination and motivation. I have knowledge of teaching and learning as a teacher and as a parent of students who learn. Switching these hats is an interesting exercise in itself.
I am also aware that the ‘experience’ of doing a PhD as a part time distance student is by far better than it was on my first attempt. There is still a sense of isolation and the reality that there are no ‘extras’ when you are not face to face – think workshops, forums, community. But the technology allows me to blog and connect, to use Twitter and Periscope to build a network of like minded educators, to make the most of Google Hangout to meet with supervisors and a super fast internet connection that allows research to happen at the press of a button. This is all good.
I have realized that what this MOOC, #survivephd15 has given us all permission to do is say, “me too!”. Whether you are a student, about to complete your thesis, a supervisor or a friend/supporter of a PhD Candidate, you are in a great space to hear the cyber sigh, “me too.” And know you are in good company. Good one.
Image: from https://theeduflaneuse.wordpress.com/