Today’s post is in transit

Your hard working editor has just moved house! With a new suburb, new commute and new school for Thesis Whisperer Jnr, the Thesis Whisperer household is in understandable disarray.

Unfortunately this Tuesday’s post is somewhere in that pile of boxes… We’ll be back on Thursday, by which time that pesky box will have been unpacked.

I hope.

In the meantime I’m wondering – are there any similarities between moving house and doing a thesis? Perhaps some insights into how to do introductions and conclusions?

If you have any thoughts leave them in the comments and I’ll weave them into a crowd-sourced post somewhere down the track.

13 thoughts on “Today’s post is in transit

  1. Similarities for sure…. (I’m in the middle of both) – taking a good hard look at your sorting and storage systems is always time well spent! (even when you’re tired)…. and you probably don’t need half the stuff you’ve got – so a clear out, or at least some archiving, will leave a clearer head.

  2. Congrats on surviving the move! It’s a tangent, but your move had me considering how important it’s been to make my office (read desk in a shared room) cosy. Books, a favourite tea mug, some curios from home that remind me of my life there. I’ve ‘moved in’ to my desk over the last 6 months, and now when I sit down, it feels like me.
    Karina
    @riotk

  3. Hope you settle in soon! Good luck with it! When I move I notice things I have to learn, which I feel I should know or be able to know sooner. How to turn the key in the lock. Which buttons to press to turn on the gas. It’s an annoying fumble over and over again for so long. I’ve felt like this a little becoming a PhD student. iIm used to writing fiction, now I’m doing a creative arts thesis. The environment is not unfamiliar, but is different. I’ve needed time – especially not coming straight from a masters or some other study, to experience and learn the academic environment. But with each new thing, it is a little like moving house. i just have to have faith in my ability to learn and that people will help me as well.

  4. I moved mid PhD, and one thing it made me do with my study stuff and my general stuff was to de-clutter. Suddenly when you have pack stuff in boxes, carry them down 8 flights of stairs (no lift!) and unpack them again at the other end you become a lot more ruthless about what you keep. I threw out old drafts, useless print-offs of articles and returned many of the 100 books I had out from the library. It made me realise I hung to all these things like some kind of safety blanket, I felt like if I threw out a old printed draft I might forget all my ideas, or if I returned books I might need or hadn’t yet read my research would fall apart.

    It also made me think about de-cluttering my actual thesis. Throwing out those sentences that seemed so elegant but didn’t really fit, cutting off those possible avenues of investigation that weren’t really happening, and reminding myself that I didn’t need to read every book/article ever written on any topic tangentially connected to my area of research.

  5. I’m a veteran of many house moves – 12 in 12 years not so long ago. And I’ve lost things for several moves at a time… Finding things is harder afterwards if you reclassify things as you move. Keeping the odd collection from that hall cupboard together in the same box is better than logical classification for finding them again. Same with a PhD. I rediscover ideas and refs by their association with other thoughts at the time rather than by their location, or not, in a careful plan

  6. Interesting to hear thoughts on this. I’m at the start of my research and due to move house in three weeks, and the way I feel about both near identical: I’m overwhealmed and don’t know where to start! Strategies for coping would be much appreciated!

  7. In addition to what catrinw said about feeling overwhelmed, I would add that at the beginning of both you make lists and intend to be super organised. Towards the end it’s very easy to just chuck stuff into boxes or the pile that has turned into your ‘to-read’ ‘to-cite’ ‘to-do’. That being said, if you can keep to your original schedule and lists and methods, the whole thing will go a lot smoother. Also, that in the midst of a mini-break down, the best thing is to find the kettle and the final ‘kitchen’ box and make a cup of tea and sit for a little while, until things don’t feel quite so overwhelming.

  8. After either moving house or writing a thesis, you’ll be so glad that you did. In both cases, the rewards are much greater than the (considerable!) pain.
    Good luck settling into your new home, Inger!

  9. Goodness!! I really hope there aren’t any similarities between moving house and doing a thesis. I moved house three years ago and the garage is still full of unpacked boxes. This doesn’t bode well for my thesis.

  10. When moving house I’ve sometimes come across an item I forgot I had (because it got buried in a cupboard somewhere) and, coming across it again, wished I’d known I’d had it. In very rare cases I might even have bought another one.

    I think sometimes that happens with a thesis. Over the years you work on it you forget some of the ideas that you had written down and worked through, etc. For that reason I think it is sometimes good to go through the old dusty notebooks and see what’s there. It might be that you’ll save yourself redoing something, or you’ll come across a bright idea you had forgotten all about.

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