Mascot for #DevilDiss

Mascot for #DevilDiss
Mascot for #DevilDiss

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Spring Break 2015 (otherwise known as ten solid days to work without interruption)

So I've been on Spring Break this last week.
As a PhD student, this meant ten solid days of 10-12 hour days glued to my desk working.
I took part of the day off on Tuesday to have brunch with the girls and go see dinosaurs. Oh, and buy a glow in the dark t-shirt of T-Rex.
But that was it. The rest of the time was checking things off a ridiculously long to-do list. This is what my planner had scheduled for break:
  • Friday: work on Milton conference paper, Skype with co-editor about project, final notes on contributors' submissions
  • Saturday: work on Milton conference paper
  • Sunday: read scholarship for Milton conference paper
  • Monday: translate all the Old English I need for Anglo-Saxon introduction of survey chapters for dissertation
  • Tuesday: after brunch and dinosaurs, library day to pick up scholarship about English national identity for Milton paper
  • Wednesday: Old English make up work (for two weeks I'll miss due to SCMS and PCA/ACA which ended up being rhetorical precis based reading responses for four separate articles/book chapters and translating sixteen pages of Old English).
  • Thursday: write Teen Wolf paper for PCA/ACA Was completely frakked on this by wireless going down at lunch, incompetent tech and it being late afternoon before it was fixed and back up
  • Friday: Milton paper, meet with dissertation director re: prospectus defense next week, print long articles while on campus, scan Old English translations and send to professor, fix dissertation prospectus defense presentation based on notes, write out my notes for defense
  • Saturday: Lesson plan for week, statistic work as core writing coordinator, comment on classmates' papers, finish Old English conference paper, finish Milton conference paper
  • Sunday: finish Teen Wolf paper
Which leads me to this comment which I said several times last week leading up to break
I am not a role model.
I think I do lots of things (planning writing, how I schedule everything, dedicated #DevilDiss days, color coding) that other people can use with success, but please don't use me for a point of comparison. For several reasons.
I am not married.
I don't have children.
I have nothing but a Puppy Overlord dictating my actions.
And frankly, as long as I don't give her shit about sleeping on the bed all day, give her long walks twice a day, feed her twice a day, occasionally let her lick my plate, and take breaks from work to chase her around the yard and play with a squeaky toy, she doesn't give a shit that I spend 10-12 hours at my desk.

I understand that this is not most people's situation. I understand that they have spouses and boyfriends and family and other commitments that they must balance with work. So if you're one of those people, go read those people's blogs. This is not that. And this intersects with why I think it's important that we do blog and discuss and share our work/life balance, and our process because each of our narratives are unique. There is no one size fits all in academia, although there are shared experiences. So some of what I do may work for you. A lot won't. And that's okay.
Here's what's not okay- shaming any grad student, academic, early career scholar, tenured scholar, or independent scholar for what works for them.
I saw it happen a couple of times this week.
Nobody has time for that shit.
I know a lot of people who took all of break off. Like OFF off. Traveled somewhere, had a vacation, spent time with significant others. And that's great if that works for them. I don't understand giving up ten days of uninterrupted writing, but that's just me. And that's okay. Because I'm NOT THEM.

I believe sharing our process, and our failures as well as our successes can be helpful to others. I see it as a human service. And I am grateful to the other scholars I follow who share and write about their experiences.
But people need to recognize that other people's stories are not yours. They shouldn't be. Find your own voice, your own story, your own life hacks.
I am willing to not date. Not have a life. Not go out. Not socialize. Not do anything but THIS for the three years I need to get this PhD DONE. Because that's how I'm prioritizing my life. That's my choice. And I am perfectly happy to sit in my home office, spend time with Nehi, have movies in the background and work all day.
This movie quote is on one of my comp t-shirts, and it's the answer I give when asked how I'm doing a PhD in three years:
 
So as you're working and on social media, remember that we should be able to celebrate and support each other without the tear-down factor.
So I'm going to celebrate everything I've gotten done this week, post this blog, and get back to finishing my work.
Because the clock is ticking on my uninterrupted work time and I plan on taking advantage of every second.

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