News: parent-student

Common Ph.D. obstacles

The struggle is real, and the long, cold nights are getting to me a bit.

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Students who are parents

Rear body shots of 2 adults holding either hand of a toddler, walking away from the camera.

I joined the university’s mentoring program in my first year as an HDR student. I am so grateful I was assigned my mentor. She has stuck with me through all the disruptions during my Ph.D. candidature.

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Looking back on my Ph.D. experience

person wearing a mask, cupping a seedling in hand that has several small green leaves

What are some of the things that you now realise were good things to do while you were a Ph.D. candidate? Or what seemed to be an obstacle to finishing that now looking back you realise was a good thing?

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Infinite

Finally, I am a published researcher.

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Our first steps: on continuous learning and growing

My 10-month old has started taking her first steps and in addition to being wildly excited about all of this, I also found myself in awe. Well of course I’m biased, she’s brilliant, but she also gave me this opportunity to reflect on learning and growing in general. I mean, how do we learn how to walk? It looks like we do it by falling an incredibly large number of times. She also needed to learn how to let go of things that she could hold on to, in order for her to take her first steps.

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Woke

I’m so very proud of my friend, and although we’ll all be missing her, she’s about to embark on a big adventure in her career and moving away for work. She’s taking on a role within a not-for-profit organisation and on her last day in Adelaide, we caught up for a picnic with friends. It felt quite bittersweet because of course we’ll miss her, but I am so very excited for her at the same time! There is still a longing in me for an adventure and although I am in the middle of one of the greatest adventures of my life - being a mum to my fiery little one - I'm hoping that there'll be a couple more adventures to be experienced.

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What are your music playlists?

I have completed all my data-gathering for my doctoral thesis and now it’s down to analysis and writing. I am starting to appreciate how important music is to my process, especially having to work around my time engaging and caring for my darling nine-month old daughter. My supervisors have been so supportive and have pointed out that raising children while writing papers meant that there was hardly any time to procrastinate any more. I find myself writing in between my daughter’s naps, structuring thesis outlines on my phone while waiting for her during child care orientation, and so on. I started with just having one “Ember’s writing music” playlist and then I found myself needing different kinds of music for different types of music. I have Jane Austen-esque music for when I am composing words for this blog. When I’m trying to re-organise spreadsheets and data, or when I need to revise references and citations and don’t necessarily need to be thinking I put on music I can sing to. Sometimes they’re guilty pleasure type pop songs or the Beatles, or playlists from different decades or sometimes funk and soul classics. When I’m writing for a deadline, or writing with purpose, I have a playlist of instrumental music from movie soundtracks. Sometimes it’s from the Godfather, or Legends of the Fall or Cinema Paradiso or even Indiana Jones, among many others. I also created a playlist I listen to when I am trying to boost my confidence prior to a presentation or a talk. 

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What's the big deal about an ear infection?

This week was a bit of a challenge for me. My nine-month old daughter picked up a bug from her play date at childcare. Our midwife and other parents have warned me about this of course, but there’s nothing like experiencing it all for the first time. I don’t know why I thought she’d never get sick. I tried really hard though. She’s up-to-date with all her immunisations, she’s had the flu shot, and she’s been having a healthy amount of probiotics in her well-balanced diet.

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Of health week and the journey back to true strength

Yoga

Spring is here, and so is Health Week! I have been talking about getting back into shape for months and now I have run out of excuses. Lots of my friends have also started their fitness challenges and I’m finding a whole heap of interesting things. There are the eight-week fitness gym challenges which would be great. A couple of years back I would get up at 4 in the morning to meditate, scribe, and be mindful of all the things I am grateful for. After that it would be an hour’s workout in the nearby gym, before getting ready to head to work in the city. I don’t think I could commit to going to the gym as regularly as I used to given the demands of studying full-time, working part-time, and caring for my amazing nine-month old offspring. 

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Not all who loiter are lost

Scholarly bubble

A group of my friends at uni are in their last few months of their PhD. They are in the home stretch. I can’t help but wish I was in their place. I tell them this and the reaction I get are genuine looks of trepidation and anxiety. They tell me it feels like they’re so close to the finish line, but also feel so far away from it. 

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