Monday, 23 March 2015

Words of Wisdom: Randy Pausch, 'The Last Lecture'

I first heard about this around October last year, thanks to a friend who sent me the link, and I remember sitting in front of it and finding it absolutely wonderful. I sat and listened and watched and made inspirational notes in a beautiful notebook.

I am currently in the process of throwing away and dismembering lots of old notebooks (as I am about to move home/ country for a bit, in search of a new adventure; there's only so many notebooks you can take with you, or keep and store in someone else's garage, so I have made myself go through them and throw them away, shredding the odd page of handwritten wisdom. I don't need to keep them all. The Tidying Bible would tell you that it's actually better for you to throw away things like that than to hold on to them; conversely, storing piles and piles of information in your house, useful though they may seem, doesn't actually do anything good for your brain.)

So I am throwing out the notes I made on this, and I am finally getting round to sharing it with all the users of this blog:

There is a lecture series in America called the 'Last Lecture', where distinguished speakers are asked to deliver a lecture on the most important things they've learned. The idea is, if you had only one lecture left to give in your whole life, what would you like to teach people about?... For this particular speaker, Randy Pausch, the 'Last Lecture' was particularly meaningful: at the time of the lecture, he was dying of cancer.

He gives the most amazing advice on time management, positive thinking, and in general just having fun and getting on with it. (I cite a couple of inspirational quotes from some of his lectures at the end of a previous post.)

Here is a link to one of his talks to get you started; there are more online, including a fantastic talk on managing your time.


Thursday, 19 March 2015

'Hate My PhD' - Best Of

Recently, sitting on a train and having nothing to do, I pulled out my mobile phone and started rereading some of my posts on this blog.

I had a lot of fun rereading some of these. If nothing else, at least the one thing I got out of my PhD is this little collection of nice writings... (And I did get a whole lot more out of it, too.)

So here are some of my favourite bits from this blog (selected for you in one handy post - for your amusement and joy) :

It was fun rereading the blog post called 'The End'. This is my absolute favourite post on this whole blog (I think you all know why!) In the days leading up to this blog post, I was already composing it delightedly in my head, half unable to believe that I would actually ever get to write these words (when it's two days to the deadline and you still have an unfinished conclusion and about 2, 348 footnotes to straighten out...) I really couldn't quite believe that I would ever get to write this one. And when I finally did sit down to write it... I don't think I've ever enjoyed writing anything more in my whole life.

I also liked writing 'Violation of Rules' and 'I Have a Dream'. The PhD wasn't all misery and difficulty, and even some of the frustrating and miserable bits could be turned on their head, and mined for anecdotal gold. I remember laughing over the Violation of Rules scenario with a lovely friend over an afternoon coffee on a London terrace (ahhh, the life of a PhD...) and I remember coming up with the 'men in white coats' line whilst chatting on the phone, while I joked about how I could maybe just 'phase out the PhD'...

I enjoyed musing over the inns and outs of my personality in ''. I subsequently found all my theories on 'being a last-minute person' to be wrong, however, when I discovered the Procrastination Bible in March 2013. I began to think that maybe there's no such thing as a last-minute person. I also began to just do stuff.

And here's another one I like - here are my Top Tips for Doing a PhD.

Happy reading!....


Saturday, 14 March 2015

'From Thesis to Book'

Some useful advice here from a kindly young academic on how to go about turning your thesis into a book:

I am finding this all very useful right now.