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?
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.
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.
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.
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.