I always knew this year was going to be a challenge in every respect. 2010 is the year to make enormous strides with the thesis. The goal for the year was to the write the ‘majority’ of the thesis, which is a delightfully vague concept. The intent of the ‘majority’ concept is at least get the heavy lifting done, possibly four of the six chapters at a rough estimate. Yet more than a quarter of the year has past and I feel like I haven’t achieved much. Much of this is due to the trials of being an external student, using a regional university as a base where to describe the access to the resources I need as scarce is to be over generous. Despite reassurances from my supervisor at Griffith that things are on track, I have this nagging feeling in the back of mind that I’m behind where I need to be. Call it ‘Postgraduate Paranoia’ but I have this fear that six months out from the due date only half the required work will be done, and then I will completely lose the plot. This will most probably last until the thesis is encased in leather binding.
Consequently I am always working overtime in an endeavour to ‘catch up’ in the most self defeating exercise ever created, because I will never be ‘caught up’ in my own mind. Whilst talking to a fellow Postgrad student on Twitter this week, she said she doesn’t have the time to blog even though she’d like to. Well I can say that creating this blog was probably the best thing I could have done to help my thesis, at least it has given me an outlet. I may never be fully at ease with the workload, but at least I feel centred and calm most of the time.
This week I checked another box on the career checklist by giving my first ever university lecture for the Politics and the Media class I am tutoring. I discussed some of the leadership theories I have been developing over my two theses, but the main focus was on how politicians use Twitter to communicate with the public. I won’t say it wasn’t a big deal because it was, but unlike writing the thesis or marking papers I felt totally at ease with the process. I know the students, they know me, and it didn’t really feel like a ‘lecture’ at all. It was just me shooting the breeze mixing theories with anecdotes. I know my parents were proud of me, as they snuck up the back to watch what I guess they consider ‘a ‘milestone’. I’m sure not for the first time they wondered how I got the political gene, and how we got to this place in my life.
In addition to those two major events, there is of course a Federal Election coming up, with the preselections for the ALP candidates in my local area having just been finalised over the weekend. I won’t bore the non political types with the ins and outs of the process, but the main thing to grasp was that the process was longer and far more arduous than I anticipated. I had originally intended to be a major part of the campaign team going forward into the ‘big show’, but I realised over the weekend I just can’t take on anymore work than I am already doing. There are two simple reasons for this: I miss my friends, and I need to find the time to have some balance in life. I have learnt that when I don’t have this balance it leads me into the deep, dark abyss.
I was talking to my best friend last night and we were discussing the possibility of chilling out for several days when I can spare it, to enjoy the two wonderful past times of watching both AFL and Skins. My immediate reaction was ‘Yeah I love that idea, but not for another two years until I finish the thesis’. Then I did a double take and thought ‘Hey why the fuck not? We deserve to have our own version of fun!’ And so it has been scheduled, far enough away so I can get all the necessary work done, but close enough for me to actually look forward to it.
A similar process took place four days earlier when the initial lineup for Splendour in the Grass was announced. I was initially skeptical not because of my time constraints, but rather the festival bill itself. I have had both good and bad experiences at music festivals. I had seemed to have forgotten that the enjoyment of such festivals was directly related to the people I went with. Fun people = fun times, shit people = shitty times. Although the lineup is a tad anemic, this time I will be going with someone who actually SHARES my music taste. No more enjoying thoughtful indie rock bands by myself while my companions check out derelict, drunk and obnoxious local bands. All of this of course is contingent upon whether we can actually get tickets, an ordeal in itself. Please keep your fingers crossed readers for the sake of my sanity.
Before that mighty festival comes along I of course am going to see the mighty Tegan and Sara, in two weeks as well as a rare solo gig from Little Birdy lead singer Katy Steele. Both gigs will again be with similar groups of friends. Perhaps after a tough start to the year, the middle period will be a little more productive both professionally and otherwise.