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It’s not just about the thesis…

This really is a good eye opener if your getting bogged down in the PhD hole. I have recently emerged and a lot of this has been playing on my mind. Good read

The Thesis Whisperer

In a recent lecture at ANU, the esteemed research education expert Dr Margaret Kiley claimed that if we set out to design the Australian PhD from scratch we wouldn’t start from here. The PhD assessment (in most cases, a long form thesis), she argued, does not not necessarily develop the full panoply of skills we expect in a working researcher, inside or outside of academia.

One of the clever students in the audience absorbed the implications of Margaret’s lecture straight away and asked:

If that’s the case, what should I spend my time on? At the moment I spend most of my time reading and writing because that’s what I’m being assessed on. Should I be doing more?

Joyce Seitzinger and I being silly in a photobooth for the Canberra Tourist board. Joyce Seitzinger and I being silly in a photobooth for the Canberra Tourist board.

The student’s question went right to the heart of an issue that has been frustrating me…

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Breaking the ice…

This is my first blog post EVER. I decided after much deliberation that instead of writing things down for myself in Evernote, that I would post those discussions/rants on a blog and at least get some purpose into them. That way, it seems less like I’m talking to myself, and as such I feel less like a crazy person. I also feel that if this blog gives some helpful advice, or light relief to someone who finds themselves in the same position that I am in, then I’ve done something good for the world.

I have found writing to be therapeutic when there is no need to reference anyone else’s work (unless required). It’s a great way to to stem the flow of thoughts that can sometimes ping around my brain like a pinball machine, or else hemorrhaging forth as a crazy verbal rant at some poor unsuspecting bystander (usually my loving wife…also a PhD candidate). I’ve also found that it helps to order your thoughts and lets you see the bigger picture in a sometimes blurry world.

I’ll do most of this from my iPad so I’m not entirely sure how I will go putting in hyperlinks to other blogs and the such. It seemed a bit clunky the other day but that may be due to my inexperience with this sort of thing. My first post (up soon) is about how someone found themselves in the PhD program, and what that entailed in terms of navigating the system (and other rambling no doubt).