RQ Series: Regulars and Take Ns- Confessions of entry-level writing DPhil student

Yes, let me confess that I have been planning to blog since the term started - because today is the last day of academic term in Oxford, I must! So I will blog on why I have not been blogging regularly (not that I said I would be- but it occurred to me, I got something to say today- finally!)
Regulars and Take Ns are on my mind. Regulars are those things I have always done in Oxford since 2011, but now are on the risk of extinction because I no longer do them regularly. Take Ns are those things I take on as an attempt to fill the gap left by the regulars, but since ‘they don’t really fit’; I may drop them as soon as I take them on. Let me share with you two regulars that have suffered, and a couple of Take Ns.
Regular One- Yoga- Yes! I was I an ardent yoga learner since 2011 until a few months ago. Every Thursday 5PM, I would be at the MCR breathing in and out, as if the world would never end if I kept breathing! I was a beginner doing the simplest Vinyasa yoga stretches moves for an hour. I can’t believe how I survived that. How can I be so keen to sit for an hour just breathing and stretching? Well, I am told it has several health benefits- and I agree. But, I have since the beginning of this academic year not remembered my yoga classes. I even moved my yoga mat closer to my bed so that I could remember to plan for yoga. That has not worked either. So, unfortunately, my regular Yoga been dropped. L

Take N1-Exercise- Instead of yoga, I found myself looking for something more vigorous; something that needed more of my energy - or maybe something that could give me an energy boost? Not sure what it was, but I found myself seeking out that trainer- guessed it. Yes, it was the gym trainer! For the first time in my young life, I found myself fascinated by the gym instructor and even purposing to attend the gym regularly. One motivation has been the proximity of the gym to my residence as I have the privilege of neighbouring a sports centre. I started my gym classes, and to add on, I took on circuit workout sessions! Can you believe that move from yoga to circuit? I definitely I am on another level of life! On days I did not do this, I took on jogging – actually, a regular which always comes back when the weather is good, and the academic tides are rough.
Anyway, the story short, I dropped circuit as soon as I took it up, and I am still struggling with making regular the gym sessions. L
Regular Two - swallowship and fellowship. The African in me is found in cooking and eating together with people. Believe me, this is the source of my energy most times; if I don’t see people, I don’t eat, I will lose the sense of life. I have not really dropped this regular, but it has been fatally affected this year, partly because I now have access to a kitchen the size of the bathroom area and a social space as big as two yoga mats. That limits the number of people I can invite to enjoy my cooking or just to have a healthy chat and laughter. Not intimidated though, I still manage to keep healthy chats in the kitchen, share dinner with a few friends- one at a time. However, this is also limited by the fact that- I am keeping to my list of most promising errands – read, write, eat, rest. L

Take N2- ‘Sample everything; Commit to none’ - to still keep with my principle of regularly meeting people, I have resorted to regular teas, coffees, and dinners. (Oh no! Did I say dinner? Because that’s a lie - I have not been going out that often to have dinner with people. Instead, I make simple meals after long days and enjoy my cosy flat room, sometimes over a nice silly novel that my niece would also hate reading). The teas and coffees are actually true- they do happen, and will become my new regular. In this take N, I also include the not-so-regular seminars I sign up to attend. I find myself excited about something, and then register, but on the actual day, I cancel. This is how my mind goes every morning when I am preparing my schedule and have to deal with seminars- 1) I got x errands today; 2) Which one is urgent?; 2) Which one is mandatory?; 3) Which of these is a repetition of something I did in the last three years?; 4) What can be postponed?; 5) What relevance do they have to my DPhil?; 6) Are there other important things I would do instead? ….well, as you can see, by the time I have answered all these questions, I am usually left with two errands for the day – 1) Read and write and 2) Eat and rest (& what else will make this possible). If by chance I end up into one of the seminars, there are three chances - 1) I will be excited by and might stay to the end; 2) I might stay to the end, but really I am just not into it- but I want to lean in there; or 3) I get really switched off by the seminar and walk out as soon as I walk in. The latter has been true several times this term. I have found myself walking out of the seminar room five minutes into listening. I am no longer intrigued that I intend to spend an hour listening, and not adding value to my DPhil- so I walk out.
Huh! So, just maybe, this blog has been suffering from my enthusiasm for certain regulars and Take Ns!


  1. the length of this blog, and perhaps the time spent on it, indirectly correlates with the length of work done today towards the Dphil - hard times :)


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