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Doctorate Study and Work Life Balance

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Doctorate Study and Work Life Balance

This group has been formed to discuss the many real issues with balancing a full-time job and studying part-time for a doctorate. Concentrating on one of these is stressful in itself, but the healthy balance for both in one's life can be traumatic.

Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
Members: 43
Latest Activity: May 17

Discussion Forum

Pressure right from the beginning

Dear members,The pressure of combining a full-time working life with a part-time doctorate speaks for itself really. Literature searches, reading, analysing, writing, and everything else combined…Continue

Started by Damian Knipe Oct 11, 2010.

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Comment by Steve Moran on September 13, 2013 at 14:43

Hi all,

My approach was to work part time and study part time. Two or three days a week with my head deep in research, a day off for chores, Two days at my job and a day off to clear my head and get recharged ready to focus and be creative again.  That one day of "me time" was brilliant to clear my head of all the work related issues and put them in a box. My job involved dealing with many people the chaos that came with it helped force me away from the research. A clear head helped me keep keep in control of the research and not visa versa.

Comment by Shahid Naseem on January 30, 2013 at 8:16

pl. send me hard copy about this topic at my given address

Mr. Shahid Naseem

PhD (Computer Sciences) scholar

Assistant Professor (IT)

University College of Engineering Sciences and Technology

Plot S-2, West wood colony, Main Raiwind Road, Thokar Niaz Baig, Lahore,Pakistan

Cell:0300-5305627

Comment by ITDEDoc on January 29, 2013 at 1:51

Hi Indrani,

I know I have tipped over the academic edge when I start analyzing cartoons my kids are watching, or start pontificating on learning theory while normal people are just trying to have a conversation. It is in those times, I tend to put away the books for an hour and turn on my favorite movie, The Chronicles of Riddick. The kids laughingly comment that I have watched it so much that I quote the lines in the movie BEFORE they actually say them! Frankly, it removes me from everything I am anchored to for a brief moment while peering into the dark underpinnings of an alternate future. When it's over, I find that I am ready to focus again, on what drove me to the edge only hours before. I hope you can find your escape cord, and pull it every now and then. It's important to remove oneself from the intensity but in a safe way. My favorite movie does that for me.

Comment by Indrani Lahiri on January 28, 2013 at 23:38
Hi Damian,

Greetings to all! Incredible topic Damian! I would like to know what type of methods have you guys adopted? Since I am wondering that the more qualitative research the more it is tiring and tough for the balance. I am in my third year...started writing...but getting on my nerves! What to do when you are exhausted? Or how to keep yourself motivated? Please share so that I find a way guys :)
Comment by helen florence on January 28, 2013 at 21:31

Hi everyone,

Good to have this discussion. I recall reading a book with contributions from students about how they managed their theses. One contributer was holding down a fulltime job and had a partner who lived in a different part of the country. She micro-managed her time as in alotting minutes and hours to everything she did. I must say that I felt anxious and pressured after reading her story and don't think that I could live like that. I find the work life balance a constant 'balancing act'. I am halfway through my doctoral thesis, supposedly doing it full-time and working part-time as well. I have realised that taking time out is important as my body lets me know when it is "over it!" and I can spend unproductive hours staring at the screen, unless I listen to its messages.  Sometimes I just need to recharge with some less cerebral activity. I often find that the elusive concept pops out when I am not over exercising my brain trying to find it.

Helen.

Comment by Kristen Fessele on January 27, 2013 at 23:43

Dear Bruce and colleagues,

I am very pleased to find this discussion group - I am a PhD candidate, working on my dissertation (or should be right now, instead of typing this...), full time employee, wife and mom. I have been in this program nearly half of my child's life, and as supportive as she and my husband want to be, it does "get old" after several years of trading weekends for study time rather than family time.

The end is in sight for me, but gosh, I feel as thought I have been bone tired for the past 4 years, and sometimes wonder if I have burnt out some parts of my brain from all of the stress and inadequate sleep rather than built it up. (Anyone else have days where you feel as thought you can't form a coherent sentence if you tried?). I suppose what gets me through is still the reason that I started this - I want the opportunity to drive my own program of research once I am done, as I have spent my career thus far supporting the work of others. I presented 2 posters this year from my dissertation work, and it was a fabulous feeling to finally be the primary investigator. Looking forward to hearing more in this group, and best of luck to you all in your efforts, Kristen

Comment by ITDEDoc on January 25, 2013 at 14:21

Whew! I agree with what I am reading on this topic. When I was a new doctoral student in my first week, I fellow orchestra member from church mentioned she was 6 mos. in her extended year (8th) of doctoral studies. She was perplexed that she had lost momentum years earlier. I was full of enthusiasm and she was full of knowledge. We formed a bond on that basis. I traveled to Bolivia with her as her scribe (assistant) to record the interviews and gather data for her qual. study. The other skill I had was in getting the president of the university there to stop stonewalling her and allow her to finish her research. Reciprocity was the bond between us. I facilitated the process and she showed me how to conduct interviews in a qual. study. I also learned how to digitally record interviews and to use Skype for international calling. That activity alone kept me motivated these three years in doctoral studies. I have 3 classes remaining, plus my dissertation, of course. But I am not so fearful of the task ahead as a result of teaming with someone early on. Different topics, but same goal. I have three kids and am a single parent. We made a pact at the beginning that I promised to include them in the journey, and have. They have been participants in my courses where interviews and video productions were required. They have done everything from writing or improvising scripts to assisting in storyboard production, starring in the videos, and introducing me to teachers that I could interview. In the downtime between semesters (2 weeks!), we spend time together and are virtually inseparable until the next term assignments start to make claim on my time. They do their part by being quiet, avoiding arguments, and we eat out often. Without their encouragement and support, I would never have made it this far. I know I will finish, because they are with me. Family support is absolutely crucial to success, isn't it?

Comment by Kemal Taruc on August 10, 2012 at 14:56

Dear colleagues,

Thanks for providing this forum. I've been struggling to finish my doctorate writing while putting my time for my family's necessities. I'd like to learn and share with you on the pain and joy of doctoral struggles.

Comment by Dr Faith Wambura Ngunjiri on February 5, 2012 at 18:52

Excellent group topic - these days, most people doing doctoral studies are probably doing them part time, while also engaged in full time work, full time parenting, full time eldercare...etc. Whereas I do not have the statistics to support this, it has been my observation that programs for part time doctoral studies (such as those using online only, blended formats, or one-day-a-week classes) are probably on the rise, while the traditional model of quitting everything else to go to school fulltime for 4-6 years is on the wane. I teach in a blended format program myself. Its partly why I am interested in this group, and will encourage my students to join. Its also why I, as dissertation advisor for students in my program and externally, decided to start a blog to give guidance on dissertation stuff. You can see it here http://drfaithngunjiri.blogspot.com/, comment, join in the discussions, ask questions.

Comment by ILA ALLEN on December 15, 2010 at 3:03

Hi Jean,

Deciding to succeed whatever the cost (within reason) is a huge statement.  IMHO, things need to be kept in moderation as well as perspective.  Personally, I just take it a day at a time so I do not become overwhelmed.  Also, you have to have some type of "me" time and "down" time or burnout will be the road one travels.  My doctoral project has nothing to do with my current employment so that can be good or not so good but since I had the job before this journey I just deal with it.  We need to remember to breathe and stop to smell the roses for life is too short regardless of the path of success.

Cheers

Ila

 

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