Been wondering where this doctoral student disappeared to? Actually, whether she might have disappeared? Oh, yes. She did. I disappeared from my field and from my actual day-to-day business of doing research.
The truth is, after eight months of thinking about this research, reading a lot, getting critics on numerous proposal drafts, reading again, designing my methodology, conducting fieldwork, and getting data home – I was tired – and I needed to break this time.
Tired can mean two things: one, is that I am tired of this selfish three-year project, and would want to quit, and second; I am physically and emotionally tired and need to take time to refresh and revitalise myself. The latter is true. I had to do so, because I felt I did not have much energy to pull through the fieldwork drama.
I have taken two months to get new energy and new insights into my research purpose. I am breaking time by undertaking a million other errands I had put on hold the last eight months.
But most importantly, I took off because I had achieved by June, most of the fieldwork objectives I had myself to at the beginning of the academic year. These included collecting 80% of the data, and outlining how my thesis would look like in the future. The reality is that I had failed by 70% on other goals I had set. I had not been consistent in reading and writing- the core of a PHD lifestyle.
So since June, I have been reading and writing. Believe me, it has been exciting time. I have read and written a lot of what my DPhil does not entail, and I still continue doing so through the month of July. I have found some interesting projects to undertake in the last two months that have been challenging my mind outside the doctoral project but within my career aspirations. I have been travelling to meet people in my wider scope of work. I have been helping people design their life projects- professional and personal. Additionally, I have been taking numerous self-taught courses, online, orally and even including some stupid ones like how to use a snipping tool J
In short, I have been on a break from the long days of field that always follow endless hours of phone calls. I have been on break from reviewing field journal notes, asking for my assistants to submit the transcriptions.
But: I have not taken a break from my passion – to make something meaningful out of my doctoral research experience. Every day of this journey, I write something new on my field journal. It’s how I break time.