Mastering a Masters

I haven't blogged for two months and what I have to show for it is being consumed by my dissertation (and stroking cats for 'research purposes'). After having read this article, perhaps I shouldn't have let it done so because I don't have to be perfect and will not fail if I take time out. It takes confidence to recognise the learning curve that is surviving academia over the summer term.

To stay motivated I remind myself what my research means to me. After all, I can get some funny looks in response to telling people why my interests matter. I have a personal connection and I don't think I'm alone. So my research will have impact - this is what keeps me going. By investigating students living away from their pets, I am raising important questions about how identity is negotiated and how separation is managed. Homesickness is a buzz word banded around during fresher's week, a phenomenon supported by student services that tends not to acknowledge a longing for pets. It may be laughed off due to a cultural discourse that deems pets not as legitimate relationship partners.

Besides constantly convincing myself of the worth of my research, summer term is the limbo of having secured grades for essays but having yet to complete a dissertation as the culmination of your academic development over the year. Sources of support become more important than ever as you venture into the library and feel like the only one there. Luckily, 'shut up and write' sessions run at university creates the solidarity of being with peers to aid achievement and push through procrastination. I am getting addicted to immersing myself in the reading and writing of my project under my own terms. I suppose that will hold me in good stead for managing a PhD...

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