Tuesday, 19 March 2013


Another one of my friends/ acquaintances has finished her PhD thesis. There is a small celebration taking place on facebook, with all her friends congratulating her and telling her how much they look forward to showering her with gifts and  champagne and celebrating with her over home-cooked dinners. (I ‘liked’ her status and told her ‘Amazing! Well done!’ Incidentally, I also liked how her message announcing the impending handing-in of her thesis was fairly discreet; it was an exclamation of joy, but ambiguously worded so that only the initiated, only those working towards the same deadlines, could know what it was about, and smile.)

I am happy for her. I actually don’t feel jealous. Part of me also thinks – you know, watching all these people slowly complete their thesis and pass their viva – it makes me think, there’s hope for me yet. If they can do it, I can do it. If they can do this crazy thing, then maybe there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to, somehow, by whatever means are available.

Then there is a part of me that wonders if I am going to end up like Hagrid the gamekeeper in 'Harry Potter', watching all his friends become wizards while he doesn’t get to graduate, or wear the wizarding gown, and instead has to stump about in the Hogwarts grounds, carrying a haversack.

But we shan't bother engaging with that part. I am up and about (having woken up at six; paranoiac habit of the final-year PhD student), I have The Procrastination Bible in front of me (which kept me company during the weekend) and I am doing centering exercises: breathe, relax, let go of the past, let go of the future; notice how ‘it really doesn’t take much energy to just be in the present.’

‘Let go of trying to be in any particular time, and let go of striving to be any particular way. Just allow yourself to notice the sensations of being where you are now. Choose to be in this situation, allowing the wisdom of your body and inner mind to give you just the right level of energy and relaxation to be here, doing whatever you choose to do in this moment. Inhale, hold your breath, and exhale completely, floating down into the present moment.’

Thou shalt not defeat me, my little PhD thesis.


  1. I LOVE your blog! I love your honesty! Your weblinks and book recommendations are really helpful (I immediately bought the procrastination bible and read it last night. And yes, its open on my kindle cloud reader as we speak.). Keep on posting! On days like today (I'm having a bad brain day) your blog helps keep me sane.

    From a fellow phd hater.

  2. hey hey! THAT'S SO GOOD TO HEAR! you know, it makes me really happy that some of these things could be useful to someone else! the links and books I post on here are ones I wish i'd known about when I was starting out... some of these writers are definitely going to get a big, teary acknowledgment in my thesis. I hope you manage to go out and have a rest on the bad brain days (if you can't work, you might as well decide to have a guilt-free break and go have fun! it's what I'm trying to do...) GOOD LUCK to you, and keep starting on that thesis! xxxxxx

  3. Here is another book that I've found useful:


    I think the title says it all...

  4. Thanks for sharing, I just found your blog after googling I hate my PhD :)

    will be visiting often :)

    you mentioned the Procrastination Bible, what is that? couldn't find it online, can you please provide a link

    Yet another PhD hater :)

    1. the PhD bible is called

      The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play
      by Neil Fiore

      and I have it because it was recommended to me by Amazon (thank you, Amazon...)

      I'm glad you like the blog! and good luck with the PhD! :)

  5. Thanks will get it now,

    I found this extremely helpful too, it is direct, gets to the point

    Self-Discipline in 10 days: How To Go From Thinking to Doing
    Theodore Bryant

    1. ooooh... very tempted by this. seems a bit pricey - will hunt it down in some library or other, and spend a happy afternoon making notes. thanks!