Four seasons in a day.


I woke up at 4 o’clock this morning, got up and had a read, then went back to bed. Had to be up by 0730 to meet the prof, my PhD supervisor.

Met him and told him about my job. He cracked it a bit, saying that I should not be doing  “so much work” (I am doing 3 sessions, taking a pay cut from my current job). He did the “I ate gravel for breakfast, you should too” line, and implied (but not said) that I should be devoting myself entirely to the PhD.

I explained my situation (the small matter of the mortgage, the fact that I did not get a scholarship etc). He settled down a bit. I was glad I was able to stand my ground. He backed off a bit, just “claiming” me for Thursday morning. In the end, he agreed to it, and the meeting ended on a positive note, stating that he was “very excited” about my project.

Even though he settled down, I was still very stirred up – I do not deal with these confrontations well psychologically, particularly in my current state. I also had a bit of a panic about whether I could actually mix the work and the PhD. I went home, had a sulk, had a cry, then had a nap – I was tired from my early morning waking.

Woke up and felt a bit beter. I even braved running group. It is the first time in nearly 2 years that I have done running group.

The advanced and beginners group was amalgamated, and only 3 people rocked up including me. I was upfront about my slowness. We jogged to the park – a warm up pace for the others was a good-going pace for me!

We then did a Mona Fartlek – 2x 90 seconds fast then slow, 2x 60 seconds fast then slow, 4x 30 secs fast then slow, 4×15 secs fast then slow. Yeow, it was hard, but I did not walk.

Then we caught our breath and did a lap around the park – 1km in 6:47 – not bad, given my legs weren’t fresh.

I felt a lot better after the run. I even had a moment of clarity – I realised that the prof needs me more than I need him – as far as I know, I am the only one with a medical background (as opposed to a science degree) doing a PhD with him, therefore the only one doing clinical research, and he is trying to get his centre established as a centre for excellence (involves getting more$$$) for which my (all clinical) research is a part of the plan. I also need to keep my skills up – first and foremost, I see patients, and taking me away from that would be like clipping my doctor-y wings.

I hope I wake up feeling better tomorrow, ideally not at 4am.


5 responses »

  1. Well done, Mona Fartlek is a killer session, it seems like it should be pretty easy but by the time you get to the 30 second reps it’s really hurting.

    Bloody Mona!

    Any chance you could hook up with someone in your field who did a PHD while working part time and have a chat about their experience, surely there are plenty who have.

  2. Onya for going back to running group – sounds like you worked hard!! I did “strides” for the first time the other day, which was a fine line between fun and ouch!!

    I was awake at 4 this morning too, waiting for the alarm to go off at 6!! (crazy) xx

  3. Ahem, something that I have a little bit of experience on. I am doing a doctorate at the moment part time while working full time. It is bloody hard work. Your situation is obviously different but it can be done. In my experience the most important thing is making sure that you keep things bubbling over regularly.

    In some ways doing clinical work (rather than the thinky thinky stuff I am doing) might actually make this easier to stay on top of – as you can block in your appointments and you have no choice but to keep them and stay on top of your paperwork.

    I have had plenty of worries about whether I will be able to manage the mix, but it is just now starting to come together in a very tangible way (phew!). Good luck.

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