Between completing years of coursework and conducting the dissertation research project, I think we can all agree that earning a doctorate is hard work. I wonder, though, if sometimes we (read: I) make it harder than it has to be.
I spent the better part of May & June collecting survey and interview data for my research, and in early July took a much-needed weeklong vacation with my wife and kids. Unfortunately, instead of relaxing and recharging, I spent the better part of the week stressing about the dissertation work I’d need to do when I got back. When we got home last Friday I had a stack of papers with means and p-values and standard deviations all over them waiting for me, and I found myself experiencing a paralysis very similar to what I experienced this past December. Thankfully, I was able to snap myself out of it this evening, and after sitting down with a cup of coffee and background music courtesy of Weezer (on repeat several times), I not only organized a good chunk of the statistical data, I also made a little headway on the organization and interpretation for my Chapter Four. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to break my funk and get me rolling again. The looming monster I had built up in my mind over my vacation was vanquished easily enough; all I had to do was just get off my ass and start working. It wasn’t the work itself that was difficult, it was overcoming the mental block that was intimidating me. Then again, that’s been the story throughout much of the process. Thinking about the work is always – ALWAYS – much worse than sitting down and actually doing it.
Sometimes we are our own worst enemies, until we decide not to be.