The flying start to my doctoral studies that I had
planned (well… if I am more honest) expected didn’t really happen. Right after our first weekend, life simply got in the way. Even worse, it wasn’t anything in particular. Nothing bad or unexpected happened. I just fell out of the first EdD weekend right back into my regular routine.
That annoying little voice at the back of my mind knew this was a sure path to later stress and inevitable failure. So what did I do? I did what any self-respecting student does – I ignored it!
But it didn’t go away.
There was only one thing that I could do to get back on track. That started with admitting I was off track in the first place. I ‘bravely’ wrote an email to the rest of my tutorial group, admitting I had done nothing. Quite honestly, I was hoping everyone else was waaaay ahead to give me that pressure. (Yes – I am one of those annoying people who quite like working under pressure). Annoyingly I didn’t exactly get the response that I wanted. I just got a lot of comfort in knowing that I wasn’t alone. What did help however was the advice Azumah shared with the group and that was my reason for writing this post.
Azumah has blogged about Getting stuff done on the Hull EDD blog and it is definitely some of the best advice I’ve received so far:
Set yourself a start day. So I did – and that date was today. Although the second piece of advice has led me to do a little something every day, I made a point of ‘fencing’ off all of today to’ sink my teeth’ into my first assignment. I have actually had a lot of fun today – what took me so long! (more on this another time I think…).
Do something every day. It seems quite obvious really – but it is something that I have striven to do every day since that post went live. This has even led to nights where I’ve gone to bed and have had to suddenly spring out of a light slumber to make sure I do something before the day ends. It has kept the EdD in my thoughts for each day because of this. Even if I only do a little thing like read a few pages, conduct a search, add some articles to my EndNote library or even print some things out ready it has been enough.
Read every day. I am lucky that every day I read stuff that is useful for my EdD as part of my job. What I have done since however is ensure I always have something ‘ready to read’ either in print or electronic form. If I have a few minutes I can easily pick it up. No searching. No procrastination – speaking of which…
Turn vice into virtue. I have been known to procrastinate on occasion. Even today, I decided to do nothing until the courier arrived. I managed to convince myself I really needed those post it notes for my reading today. Thankfully it was an early delivery. But in all seriousness, this is something that I am aware of. Whenever I feel like I need a break and I’m sliding into procrastination I turn to Twitter. As I use Twitter for professional purposes, the worst I could probably do is tweet about something academic or end up reading an article that isn’t entirely relevant. Either way I get a break and I get something that contributes to my wider contextual knowledge within my disciple (see – I’ve been working on justifying this for a while).
Anyhow! I hope my reflections on starting the EdD have been interesting – if not somewhat useful. I wanted to share this to first of all thank Azumah for her advice and secondly, to share some of my worries with you all. I imagine I am not alone!