You can’t cross the same water twice

A couple of years ago, I put an Mphil proposal on hold with the Open University. Months later, I was put through Prince 2 training, an experience that was so anti-intellectual and anti-learning, not to mention providing horrific insight into the potential life of project management ahead, that in a knee-jerk reaction I applied for a PhD. I didn’t get it. (There is, apparently, no escaping project management if you ‘fess up to a qualification, though, so I’ve stripped it from my resume.)

Now, I’m reworking that Mphil proposal; the OU are still interested, I’ve got ideas flitting through my head. They aren’t connecting yet, I’m still at the exploratory stage, but they will. One day, I’ll tug on a particular thread of thought, and presto! I’ll have the question that needs answering, along with some possible lines of enquiry that even seem to make sense. Just this, the reading, thinking, analysing, wondering, connecting with other thinking, makes my life better because it gives me a focus that is otherwise entirely lacking.

And then, out of the blue, came an email from the tutor who didn’t award me that PhD position, with information on a couple of funded places. He wondered, if I wasn’t already studying, if I might be interested in applying? I read the descriptions in the middle of another pointless working day, and it made me want to cry because the opportunity seemed so out of reach. It is all very well to jack in your income and prepare to live entirely off baked potatoes when you’re the only person it affects; it is quite another when there are cats and a shared tenancy agreement to be taken into account. And I’m pretty good at selfish. But I want one of those places.

I’ll have to make a quick decision, because applications are due by Feb 4th.

As a corollary, regardless of how any of these attempts at studying fall out, I realise how very bored I’ve been over the past several years, ¬†and how mentally sluggish I am. There are more gears available, and yet I never get out of second. Why am I doing that to myself? It’s a bit of shocker, and I think my use of social media is partly to blame. I choose the fast sound-bites that are delivered to me and get all my information appetiser size. Perhaps it’s finally time to go back to a print newspaper for more than just the crossword.

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5 thoughts on “You can’t cross the same water twice

  1. It’s a difficult decision isn’t it? I’m not an academic and I dropped out of my MA in Children’s Lit, partly because my heart wasn’t in it, partly because of the expense and partly because I just wanted to read novels rather than write about them! Sounds as though this timely offer is right for you though. Hope you post about your decision!

  2. Good luck with your decision and all next steps necessary to implement that decision. “Information appetizer-size”: pretty much sums up what most of us suffer from, and only some of us struggle to overcome.

  3. “Information appetizer-size” is probably better than Candy Crush and Pet Rescue Saga addictions, which is what I’ve suffered from over the past month or so. Good luck with whatever you choose to do! Maybe you’ll inspire me.

  4. Its a good point … my ability to concentrate on reading has deteriorated schockingly; also watching TV and the smartphone screen simultaneously.

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