My one-year anniversary as a PhD-student!

Here are some honest reflections on my one-year anniversary as a PhD-student here at UiT:

  • I’d hoped and expected to have made more progress in my research by now. I’ve heard many other PhD-students say the same. My supervisors aren’t surprised by my “slow” progress – apparently this is normal. It’s scary that 25% of my time here is already over, and I haven’t even finished writing my first article yet.
  • Every step in the process of doing research involves complex decision-making, based on knowledge and experience.
  • The insight that research plans constantly change and evolve, depending on response rates and other factors that we’re not always in control of, makes me realize the value of crossing bridges as you come to them, and not having too many expectations.
  • I’m not as disciplined with my work as I thought I’d be, and as I have been in the past. I need to plan better and set aside more time for reading and writing. The practical parts of the research, and my compulsory duties this semester, take most of my time. This leaves me with the constant feeling of “I should be doing more.”
  • I’m learning so much about doing research, about information literacy, and about how a university library functions (as opposed to a smaller college library)! All of this will be  useful for me in the future.
  • My motivation comes and goes, but that nagging feeling I had during my first months here – “Did I make the wrong decision?” – bothers me less with time.
  • Doing a PhD is a form of self-torture, with emotional ups and downs that sometimes make me feel as if I’m on a roller coaster. So why am I doing it? To learn! (And to convince myself that, even at my age, I still can!)
  • I love teaching. When I’m with students I feel useful, and that I’m doing something worthwhile. It’s more rewarding than (some aspects of) doing research. My research results will hopefully influence how we teach IL.
  • The fact that I’m earning less as a PhD-student than before bothers me more than I thought it would. Although earning a higher salary in the future was not my main motivation for doing this PhD, I really do hope that it pays off someday.
  • My bond with my supervisors is stronger than I’d anticipated. They give me advice when I need it, we have frequent meetings, and we really enjoy each others’ company. They are absolutely amongst the smartest and nicest people on this planet, and I so appreciate their support, wisdom, brilliance, and constant encouragement.