Always looking for animals

Sam, Katy, and Noggs in Africa

Sailing through the PhD seas

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So maybe (just maybe maybe) I was a bit judgemental, bitter and negative about PhDs. And maybe (just maybe maybe) I was wrong…and therefore Sam, my delightful and intelligent doctor husband, was right. They are not that bad and they are in fact worth donating years of your life to. They can even be pretty darn enjoyable.

I think PhDs might be like birthdays. They age you. Ha just kidding. More like if you get all hyped up and excited about birthdays and all the amazing gifts you’re going to get and all the people who are going to come to your party, then you often end up disappointed. But if you’re not that fussed and honestly mean if when you say ‘you don’t have to get me a present’ (by the way to the men out there, no woman has ever said this and meant it) then you are generally pleasantly surprised by how it turns out. My PhD expectations were pretty rock bottom and therefore the whole experience has been kickass.

So this blog is about the good things about PhD life since it seems like most people share the opposite opinions. Go to www.phdcomics.com for examples.

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But thus far my PhD has been the following:

1. interesting

2. liberating

3. challenging

4. enjoyable

Not quite convinced I’ll feel the same come writing up time but so far so good.

If I didn’t do a PhD I wouldn’t have done this or this

I wouldn’t have seen this

I wouldn’t have been in a helicopter (which we’re doing again next week too!)

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And I would never have collared four different brown hyaenas

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So far I have met and interviewed 103 people who all have completely different ways of life than me who I would never have otherwise met. I have learnt about cultures, languages and customs that have shocked and fascinated me. This week I learnt about the mirrors that white people gave black people to look into and then stole all their cows hence the decline in the importance of livestock, and about the official printed warning on traditional beer not to drink and sleep in the roads because leopards will eat you. It’s been an education of a bizarre unexpected sort.

I have had the freedom to read what I’m interested in, make my own decisions and be the queen of my organisational universe. Just in case you were wondering, my organisational universe is a beautiful, beautiful place. 

So I guess this is the blog post I will want to read when I am in the depth of despair writing up my PhD and pulling my hair out or just watching it turn grey from stress. But for now, fieldwork is good. Life is good. My supervisors are great and my MIA hyaenas will hopefully be less missing next week when we fly about looking for them again. So send me a link to this post when the big bad writing up storm whacks my little academic boat against rocky shores…but until then happy sailing.

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