RVBM#1: Reports from the Voice at the Back of the Mind

This is late by two days, but for some on the other side of the world it’s only the 1st of September so I am going to pretend that it is exactly on time. This is basically how academia works… right?


Today I present you with the following observations made while shadowing a PhD student as the Voice at the Back of her Mind for the last three months.

Observation#1
Asking for help is difficult for subject as subject thinks she is supposed to know everything weeks after joining the program. Subject is coming to terms that if she knew everything she would not be here. Subject is also embracing her natural talent for asking ridiculous questions and not ducking for cover immediately.

Observation#2
Subject suffers from Going Down the Research Holes. While this affliction is not serious, it does hamper the ability of the subject to read a single article without opening up a dozen tabs for small details. Subject currently has saved tabs of 60 or so pages in folders named as different versions of “Lol Whuuut”. Subject may also have a broken sense of humour.

Observation#3
Subject is currently swinging back and forth from the tree known as Work-Life Balance. This is characterised by subject signing up to DO ALL THE THINGS and then feeling guilty thinking subject “should” be working ALL THE TIME.
At the time of writing this report, subject has found several magical items such as ‘routine’, ‘to-do lists’ and that guarding her time like a dragon may be the key to all of this. The realisation that life cannot and should not be put on hold while she tries her hand at this PhD thing has been a sobering thought for the subject as well. How successful subject is at this, remains to be seen.

Observation#4
Subject alternates between periods of “She got this” and crippling insecurities that manifests itself in an intense urge to hide under the lab desk. Subject is coping with it by going to workshops for areas that she may be lacking in, actually listening to people when they point out her strengths and covertly stalking other people also doing their PhD.

Observation#5
Subject mutters ominously under her breath and has, on occasions, mildly disturbed electricians, people she lives with and complete strangers. Subject is gleefully proud of this trait which is slightly concerning.

The Voice at the Back of the Mind will continue to follow the subject in the days to come and keep the denizens of the inter web updated on her flailing about as they happen.

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