PhD experiences: Something that’s been missing

Today I’m going to tell you a little story.. Something has been bugging me for days and months, something about my PhD managing, writing and learning in general. I could not quite figure it out but I felt profoundly upset with my goals and sense of achievement. I’ll say it: I’ve been feeling STUCK! But believe it or not, it’s not in a bad way. I feel stuck in the way that I’m moving, I’m doing things and completing all my goals within the set timeframes but something is missing – that special something that makes me think ‘Wow, that was good, I just did this!’

I think it’s the pressure of being a PhD student that has had its toll. I expect of myself to do things, then once I’m comfortable I push myself and do more, then more, even more and so on. There could never be an end to this. It’s interesting discovering how much more I can do now in comparison to when I set off the PhD journey. I manage better with more stress, creeping deadlines and alternating between projects, teaching, researching, writing. It’s been a learning curve.

But all that doing and especially doing towards a massive project sometimes feels like I’m actually completing only baby-steps. I don’t see a finished product and it doesn’t make full sense yet. I know that the time will come but I definitely need something before that to boost up my sense of achievement a little bit and to enable myself to see beyond the current state of things…

So, what I’m on about, you’d think… I was browsing the StaffNet updates just today and came across something interesting – MOOCs – which stands for massive online open courses. The rest of the article was not really relevant so as a true researcher I went straight to Wikipedia to find out more. 5 minutes later I was browsing online courses, 10 minutes later I was enrolled on a few spread out between February and June:

  • E-learning and Digital Cultures
  • Aboriginal Worldviews and Education
  • Nutrition, Health and Lifestyle

love-to-learnAn online course takes between 4 and 10 weeks to complete on average and comes in weekly modules with some reading, videos, notes and options for discussion. In addition to this, there are quizzes and assignments! Did I sell it to you? Well, I certainly got even more interested. There will be some learning of new ideas and concepts away from my topic but still within broad interests, some reading and interaction with other students on the course. And the assessment was what motivated me the most – I like completing things that get recognised as a final product. Might be because I have been working on drafts the past 2 and a half years and that does lead to a mild sense of disappointment that the whole thing will not be completed some time soon. A mild sense, I said, but just enough to bug me..

So a course would give me that interest into something new and challenging, learning and tasks to do along with completing a finished piece of work! I love learning new things and with these courses I could explore different things within a limited period of time so I don’t get completely distracted. I’m excited and ready to go but I will also reflect on the process and especially if that was the missing brink.  

The E-learning course comes first. It actually started a week ago so I have to catch up. Let’s go!


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