Under Pressure

It’s been a (very) long while since I last updated my blog with a post. I have been feeling somewhat unmotivated recently (did I write this in my last post? oh dear). Academically, I felt a little lost – I was going along a path and didn’t know which way to turn, or even if I was going down the right path at all. I *thought* I had decided upon my research area, and my research questions, but something, just something was niggling away, something wasn’t quite right.

I was then hit upon by a deadline for a funding application – and although after a couple of previously unsuccessful full-funding applications  (I have been lucky enough to get a fees-paid bursary), I couldn’t let a deadline go by without submitting something. There really is a *very*, *very* slim chance of my application being successful – not because I’m really crap at sociology or Women’s Studies, but because a) competition is rife and b) competition is of a very high quality and c) my subject area is not really funding fodder. ANYWAY…

I have found, throughout my academic life, that I do work better under pressure. The deadline for the application was 28th April. On the 24th April, I was still unhappy with my research area and idea but was still unsure exactly why. So, with this in mind, I kind of decided not to do anything about the funding deadline. BUT WAIT….

On the evening of the 27th April, it struck me. I finally discovered why I was completely happy with my research topic. I re worked it in my head; I said a few ideas out-loud, and then I went to bed….

The 28th April arrived and I had a meeting booked for 3.30pm. I had the morning to write a 3-page, PhD-standard research proposal. Ok, I had several drafts of my previous research proposal, but my focus had changed. I needed to get writing, and thinking, and fast.

I managed to pull something resembling a research proposal together. So it’s not brilliant by any stretch of the imagination, and to be honest, I am quite glad I didn’t spend days and days on it because as I said, the likelihood of me getting full funding is, slimmer than a slim thing. HOWEVER…

There was a positive in this process (or maybe even more than one).

I discovered I have a considerable talent for writing snappy thesis titles in a rush (I thought my last one was good, but this one?!); I work well under pressure and….

The added pressure, and a miracle from an unknown source, made me completely re-think my area, realise why I didn’t like my original subject and come up with SOMETHING THAT I LOVE AND AM MORE THAN HAPPY WITH – in the space of 24 hours.

So when I get that email telling me my funding application was unsuccessful, I won’t cry into my coffee, I won’t run down the street telling complete strangers how stupid and incapable I am. I will however, remember that this was in no way a futile exercise, but in fact the catalyst for my re-focus and subsequent re-motivation in my Doctorate.

Now I just hope my supervisor has the same enthusiasm for my idea…..


2 thoughts on “Under Pressure

  1. Jessica Mae says:

    Congrats on completing your application for funding. And greater congrats and praises be bestowed upon the universe for having your back. 🙂

    It’s nice to read this post when I know I have 3 papers to eek out in the next 24 hours. Short ones, thankfully. I’m going to channel my inner Emma Beckett and write something transcendent… ya know, or at least passable! Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. emmacbeckett says:

    Oh what a lovely comment ! I am touched 🙂
    Good luck back to you with your 3 papers – I hope you manage to pull something together that you are both happy and satisfied with. Not sure if channeling your inner Emma Beckett will help much…. ! But Thanks for reading, and even bigger thanks for such a flattering comment 🙂
    Keep up the good work with your blog too 😉

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