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July 24, 2012

Still in love after all this time – by Bernie

It's been almost three years now, and I just want to say: I still love my PhD. In fact, I might even love it more than I did at the beginning. It's a bit like when I had my children - when they were first born, I loved them of course, but I didn't know what, or who, they might become. As they've grown and developed, and I've looked on in complete wonderment, I've realised that I really do love them more as they get older, because they're just so interesting to me, and I never know what they're going to do next.

It's been much the same with the PhD: I came in (as an ESRC/Case student) to a ready made research proposal, and I loved it as soon as I met it. But it's been a wondrous process of development and growth, and just like with my children, I've felt a bit like it's taken on a life of its own, and I just give it a bit of a shove in a particular direction from time to time.

When I read back over my blog posts, I can see how much it's evident that I have loved this PhD life. Of course there have been frustrations, but actually these have mostly been grounded in times when I've not been able to focus as much as I would like on the work - times when my children's lives have been frantically busy, times when I've had to focus on other kinds of work (well, thank you, marking!), and recently, times where I've just not been up to it. Even in the posts where I've been railing against the restrictions I've felt have been imposed, there's always been the sense of a challenge to be faced, and a bit of excitement about how I might circumnavigate the things I don't want to engage with. A bit like dealing with toddlers, actually...

flying thesis

I know I've said this before, but I'm a great believer in counting my blessings: I have loved these three years. I'm shocked to discover it's nearly over, just like I can't quite believe my eldest daughter will be able to go and see 15-certificate films in a couple of months' time. But just as I look at her and think, 'Yes, she seems okay so far...', I plan to take the same approach in these last few months with the thesis: Yes, it seems okay at the moment. And yes, I love it more than ever as it takes its proper shape and lurches towards the time when it will go out into the world as a fully-fledged THING. I'll probably cry, but as my children would say, that's no surprise at all.

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