One of the first things I was advised before commencing my PhD study was to create some study space at home. Being enthusiastic I was very lucky and able to convert one of my rooms into a study/small lounge area. I was pleased that I had created the space that I needed with my computer in one area, I found a place to store my books, and put some nice cushions on my study settee so that I could be comfortable in those moments of ‘thought’ and when reading. I had my CD player in a corner, in case I needed some light music while I worked….. awe, all those good intentions before I started!
One year on I have transitioned into student life and seemed to have forgotten about my tranquil study area! It was only recently when I realized the whole house had become my study!
The realization came to fruition a couple of weeks ago, when I was getting in bed one night. I always try and end my day on a positive note, so informed my husband about the best thing that had happened to me that day. I then asked ‘what was the best thing about your day?’ and my husband replied ‘I can tell you what was not the best thing about my day…..you have now taken over the dining room with all of your books and papers’
Oops!! I went to sleep and when I awoke the next day, there it was, REALISATION, I had taken over the whole house. There was reading material and papers everywhere.
I had siblings and cystic fibrosis literature in the bedroom
Family centred care and qualitative research in the lounge
Several drafts of my research protocol in the dining room, lounge and bedroom.
A computer in the study, with policies and ethics documents dispersed everywhere. All my neat folders I had organized were just strewn. My laptop was in the lounge and my brain! I am not really sure where that was.
I had become so emersed in my work that I was gradually spreading it all over the place and my justification was …well I know exactly where everything is and forbid anyone to move anything.The comment from my husband was the last straw for him. I had got the message. I needed to get organized, do some filing, tidy up the books and papers and give back the family home. I needed to retreat to the space I had originally created.
I have now begun to tidy up. The study is looking great, sometimes I am more comfortable in the main lounge and I do get restless when I am in one place.
So the new rules are:
Try and stick to the study space and if I do use another room, I must be organized and tidy everything away afterwards to that the PhD does not take over the house.
It is a good job my husband mentioned this to me when I had got to 12,000 words and not 80,000.