I May Never Finish #PhD

Posted August 25, 2014 @ 4:58pm | by Tripp

I work best under pressure, knee-deep in the mud. It helps me concentrate. The truth is I have never been guided by the kind of strict discipline I see in some people, those who get up at five in the morning and jog for an hour. My priorities are elsewhere. I will rearrange my entire day to have a solid meal with friends. ~ Werner Herzog


omeone is sure to claim that I am embracing negative thinking here. No doubt. I'm positive about that much at least. And perhaps I am. Perhaps it is defeatist to give voice to the doubts and frustrations that plague me these days. It is also disctinctly possible that I am making a mountain of a mole hill. 

I do that a lot, too.

I've been wrangling and wrestling. I've been mulling and musing. Hell, I've been tying myself up in knots trying to make sense of my muddled psyche and what might be afoot there in my head and beyond. 

Cognitive theorists would be quick to remind me that my brain is part of a very complicated system of self-understanding and such. Right. Very helpful. 

At any rate, I'm struggling with this PhD. I just can't get motivated to take my comprehensive examinations. Last night the obvious occurred to me once again. I don't actually want to finish. No. I don't.

I never feel more myself than when I am sitting in that seminar room having my notions of the world, music, God, humanity, or something else shattered into a million little pieces. It's a rush. I'm hooked. I dig it. I like the social setting. I like the intellectual setting. I like the feeling of learning in a group. 

That was over a year ago and it sucks. It sucks a lot.

Wener Herzog is someone I hardly understand. I've only vaguely known of him. It seems he's quite a big deal to some. Brain Pickings posted a book review. Someone interviewed the guy and so I read the review. It's about creativity and creators, so I read the thing. It's what I do now. I read about creators creating creative creations. 

For the most part I was uninspired.

Then there was the quote I placed above. Yeah. That sums it up for me. It's so hard to want to make time for the rest of the degree process. There are always more important things claiming my attention in the moment. I try to make the process more "urgent" but that's just not how it works.  

I don't see comps or the dissertation as hazing though that's a popular trope. No, it's simply the least enjoyable part of the process. It's the most solitary part of the process. I won't be sharing anything of the beautiful stuff I find with a class. I won't have a chance to talk things through with others. I will be totally alone.

I hate that. 

What's the point of discovery if one is alone in it?

I hate this.


Okay. That's all I got today. More later. 

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