A while ago I was away 4 days at the Manchester Grad School 2012 (1-4 May 2012), it was a great experience, an extremely well organised event, an opportunity to meet lots of other PhD students doing interesting research in so many different fields, and to hear from already well-established academics such as Gillian Mawson (@Guernseyevacuee) and Inger Mewburn (@thesiswhisperer) and their view on public engagement and social media (respectively) and impact in general.
I felt generally well, tired, yes definitely but well. I also found it difficult to stop at the end of each day as after hearing and doing so many interesting things, and meeting and speaking to so many people my brain struggled to let go and allow me to fall asleep.
Outcome of the GradSchool week: blog, tweet and don’t be afraid of saying yes to less planned (and sometimes less “academic”) invitations as these can open new and exciting doors!
On the pregnancy side of things… as my tummy was still quite small at the time nobody could tell I was pregnant, which left me in various situations of should I tell? Why would I tell? I only told very few people and sometimes I felt a relief for being able to say it. Actually I think I started writing this blog because we decided not to tell anyone (family & friends) until the week 13 scan and I needed to tell somebody about it, I needed to get it out: the (double) happiness, the frustrations, the aches, etc….
End of April
After weeks of feeling miserable and not really capable of doing anything I was really happy when finally I felt I could get some work done, I was feeling a lot better and magically I could cope with the idea of having to write and finish chapters of my PhD thesis.
Unfortunately the sickness was substituted by migraines and all different sorts of pain in my head – medication? Well… not really. I was still happy because it was better than the previous weeks of “morning” sickness (still feels wrong to call it morning!)
Ok, I’m in my 3rd year of a PhD in education, expected to finish in or around September 2012. I’ve collected data, transcribed interviews, started writing a findings draft chapter….
End of February 2012 I found out I am pregnant, the tests were “extremely” positive, the three tests to be more precise!
Beginning of March we went in for my first scan and… ta dahhh! Not only I am pregnant but I am expecting twins, fraternal twins (the “good kind of twins”, or so I’ve been told).
The following weeks were overwhelming, sickness, calling it morning sickness is a joke: whole day sickness would definitely be more accurate! Lying down for most of the day and still feeling like I’m crossing from the UK to Spain on a ferry
PhD vs. sickness = sickness won, every single time!!!
One piece of advice (or maybe Note to self): When it all seems too much, when you feel overwhelmed and even just looking at a “What skills do PhD/ researchers need to develop” makes you feel you don’t have any strengths and only weaknesses – give it a rest. Stop, don’t force yourself to sit in front of the computer or think about the PhD!