Beginning of term

Beginning of term

Is the beginning of term a good time to panic and freak out?! I think it is… If nothing else, it’s an opportunity to sit down, think about what needs doing, plan and do before it gets too late. I’d rather panic now while I have time to sort myself than close to the end of term when time is sparse and deadlines are pressing… I suppose I am now part the initial panic stage but here are my ramblings having entered the new term and recovering from a mild freak out session!

If I had to describe the way I feel right now, at this very moment of beginning the new term, using three words…. the first few coming to my mind are:


Work mode


It’s this time of the year when some things come to an end and others begin. For me personally, this is a good time to make big plans and try new things to challenge my thinking and skills. I would like to see the new term as a new beginning that will open doors to opportunities and learning exciting stuff but I do realise I will still have to avoid distractions or procrastinating doing ‘busy work’ without any outcomes…

Going back to my little list…

I am overwhelmed in both positive and negative ways. Beginning of term means the end of the summer, forgetting about my holiday and  getting into the routine of a busy PhD student. I have to admit that even though I was working through most of my summer, I was in some kind of a slow motion dream, I was getting things done but not with the speed I expected. And there was September knocking on my door with a pile of more things to do and new commitments… On the other hand, I completed the first stage of data generation for my project in July and that feeling was amazing. Having looked through all the data now I feel even more confident but slightly bemused by the huge amount of evidence I managed to get. That’s great, you’d say, but it is contributing to being overwhelmed. It’s particular questions I have in mind: Am I doing the right things and where do I go next?! How do I manage all that is on my mind – teaching, data, interviews, reading, writing? I guess I have some more thinking to do on these and probably a whole PhD to finish before I get the answers…

I have good days and bad days, I have days when I work for 15 hours and I can’t get enough of it and I have days when I struggle to open a book or look at the screen of my laptop. I know this is normal, but it contributes to that sense of being overwhelmed. I am doing a number of responsible jobs after all… And I feel this is the best time to be overwhelmed as when new things start there’s planning of some sort involved. And when planning is involved I know I’ll be all right.

This week has been a good one altogether, I have been working hard every day ticking tasks off my To Do list. I’m in a proper work mode and there’s lots going on in my diary in comparison to the summer months. I noticed I get things done faster, the data seems manageable and the reading is a nice getaway at time. I know that this year I have to be a lot more disciplined with my time and probably revise my self-organisation skills to boost productivity. After all I’m at a very important stage of my research and have to stay in focus…

Expecting… I wrote that one down to reflect my current state of mind. While I know that I will have to stretch myself to do many things and learn a lot more this term and year, I am really looking forward to it. It’s a sense of knowing that there’s something worthwhile coming on and I’m expecting this feeling of accomplishment and pride in what I do. I know it will be a great term and academic year. I will learn, develop and grow…

So bring on these new beginning, I’m even more ready now!



  1. D Cotto · · Reply

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post, as I can relate to it in many aspects. Posts like these remind me that I am not alone in feeling many of the feelings I encounter as a doc student. Thank you!

    1. Thank you! And replies like yours make me happy that someone can relate to my messy PhD experiences 🙂 After all, we are all in the same pot!

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