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Sarah M Brown, PhD
over 2 years ago
Getting a PhD is hard. Becoming a professor is really hard. That is what this is about. I started writing this when I was a post doc, about six months after finishing my PhD and moving to California for the post doc. I was a post doc at University of California, Berkeley in a prestigious group. Working with arguably the most famous person in my field, lead me to put a lot of pressure on myself.
Writing this was my choic
n things got really hard for me. I was in a dark place. I had a lot of days where I couldn't drag myself into my office, I couldn't work. I would stare at my work and that this would be the right thing that this would be really hard to figure out and this goes how this goes. I need to work out what the right solution what this could be, I needed to think about how this can go. I needed to work through my problems now, I know that this is hard. I just needed to think about what this can be. I do not know what this is about. I know that this is ht hardest thing to do. I just need to think about how this is hard and this is not clear.
This is much harder to think about. Working through problems and that this is the right needs to be. This is unfair and this is hard. this is not clear and how to get out of it.
I decided to write this to work though these issues. I decided that I wanted to write down this story and organize it Collect a number of bits of advice that I have planned writin about and mix it together into a collection of short its. A piece that is a mixture of genres. I thinkit will be a mixed-genre project. There will be anecdotes written as a memoir. the will e advice and research pieces that are writtne like advice columns or blok posts. there will e idealal, setions that are research focused and written as such.
The goal of writingn this project is to provide a reader- an early phd student something that is both a companion the personal story that give the exemplars of whtat this journey is actually ike for a person and that twould be ther igth thing to figure ou. that this would be more chellenging that we expected. This book will be aimed at helping people navigate being a phd studnet and ideally all the way throgh to becomingn a professor as well. I am writing as much of it as I can now, and then it will be finished when there is tmme. I think that it is hard. I know that it will be ahrd. I am also pushing myself to output enough words this month for what it is. this will be a matter of thinkinanb tu the professionnal skills as well as the tools and experiences. I think tha tthis is hard. I know that tit is hard. these epexpereinces will make it clear.
Getting hough a Phd can break you down and there can be really unsupportie environtments. and really supportive envrionments. what it is and how to understand a given experience i not clear. the challenge, however is to figure out hthe right way to mke th thogth fo yourself. I hae decided to work through my expereinces in the journey by writing about it. I hve also seen a therapist. I do not know hw this can be. I just need to think about how this cacn be the right way possible.
I let this go. I let go of being a person, while working and. Ijust need to think about what this can be the right way of how this will work. I just need to think aboutthe good way to go. This is really hard to think about. I just do not know how to proveed how this wouold go. I just needed to think abouot wha this acn be the right way to get this done. I jsut needed to think abut what this can be done. I need to think about this would be done. they needed to figure out how this would work. I just need to think about how this can work.
I hope that this book provides a lighterr read than somem of the PhD process books that I read and had provided in some ways and in nothers it may be deeper and heavier, it will be hard to resolve.
I started a writing habit in nmy fourth year. I started writing daily and it went on for a long time. After a while iw asn't sure how to use it and I Moer oftne than not used it for theraputic purposes than for research. In my post doc ireached a pointn where i ddidnknw what to writ emost days so i decided to thinka bout how this cann done. I just need to think about how this works I ould find myself writing the same sentecens over and over again throughout what this would be. within a given day's writingn I woudlwwrit ein circles. So, instead, I decided to give myself a month long goal of a different longer project.
Throughout my time as a PhD student I gradually lost touch with most eople in my life. I let a lot go. I didn't take care of myself, I leftmy health behind. I don't recommend what I did during my own time. I thin kthat this would be the right way that would work. I do think that I learned a lot about being a Phd studnet and livingnhrough that time. I think that this will help me be a better adviser to my own students eventually, but for now, I will think about what this can be done. I think that telling my story will help others learn from what I learned and think about their own needs and develop their own pracises an strategies.
I hope that writing this helps me move on and hat it helps others avoid my own mistakes and feel better. I think that this would be the best way forward.
I don't know why resort to that same phrase every singn timem just over and over . I wirte about what this can be done. I think that it will help. I just hope that this what this makes sense.
I want to make this helpful. I will discuss how I chose to be a PhD from tmhe start and then hw I chose my program, through picking and adviser. I finished my degee ultimately with an amaing and supportive adiceser. I wasn't as produtive as I would have liked, but I chose problems harder than what I needed to. Throughout the process though i had some bad adisers, that t had to drop and change I had to leave bad advisers andone abandoned me. I had to drop projects even because of challenges through adisers. I'll cover how I found my research and moved through prjects and how I worked through collecting them into a single coherent story for my thesis. the chllenges I had with advisers and how that would work. I will also discuss somem of the personal challenges that I had durinng my PhD. I became distant with people and I even nearly lost one close friend, our relaionship changed infitely.
Some things will e more challenging than others. I want to share abouot my experience, without bearing the stories of other people tha they may not be interested in sharing. the speciics o the timemline are not ideal. I do not know if I could ever tell the stories abou some thigns I am sure that many section sthat will be written in my drafting and that won't be shared, I expect I wont be able to craft a sufficiently neutral path. A good story line and a clear path that is neutral and no revealing to people who should not be revealed. I just cannot think about how this proceeds.
I always get in these ruts whle I write . I think aboutu how this goes. I need to think about the est way to decomose what I read. I do not want tow rite thse bullets and ther rredudnatn pieces and to figure out how this can proceed. My biggest crutch phrase when I write thiese free form posts, is "i just need ot" I always put more things on myself and making more and more pressure on myself. I make things my responsibiilgyt and oblication, I just needed to thin about how this can do. I want to think deeply and I want to start to go longer. Working what this would be the right way forward. I do not know why it is so hard fo rme. I like to think deeply, I struggle to work sometimems, I struggle to remove my technology addictionn.
this book will be a collection of stories that are both chronological and overlapping in timem. there will be soeme sections where ther are sequential anectdotes and other chapters that arer more thematicly organized and that contain shorter anectdotes from mutiple points in time. They will be organized at a broader scale temporally, but within that thematically. Things from the later points and will be included and reflections taht I have now that I didn't hav eat the tme of somem of the early decisions MI made or experiences I had will go forwad.
generatingn al ist of topics to help keepmysel fon track as what this cacn e is tha hardest part and that it is important that I think about what this can be:
applying to graduate schcool
why to get a PhD, how i chocecs
choosing a rpgoram
choosing an adviser
leaving and adviser
finding a new adviser midprogram
relearningn to read
re learning to write
fidning a connectingn theme to create a theiss
choosing a committee
being alone in ngraduate school
makig time for friends
making academic friens
multiple peer groups
student to expert transitioning
understnding your own frustrtions
tihnk about how people work
identifying imposter syndrome
writiers block, revised
For oms o these I can think about good storied to tell and for others on various types of advice and formal things. Storytelling is not my strength, framing the story for it to have a memoir feel is non trivial.
Ideally this will be a long process and I will get to think approximate length every day, and reach something around 50,000 words for the month. I hope to get a few revised and organized each week, but probably not all of them.
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