In Australian culture we are uncomfortable talking about money. In the absence of a frank discussion, there continues to be a view that it is a rite of passage to starve in your garret while you do your PhD, which I think is an entirely wrongheaded way to treat some of your nation's smartest people (are you listening Julia Gillard?). International students are particularly hard up; I honestly don't know how they do it.
There is so much you can achieve with your life when all you do is work full time. I'd forgotten what it was like, not to feel guilty and scared all the time. Compared to a thesis, forty hours a week is a laughably small sum of hours to be spending on work.
If you are feeling anxious about the discussion section rest assured you are not alone. It's an issue that comes up time and time again in my workshops. There's no one answer that can help everyone because every project is original, so I thought I would offer a few thoughts on it by way of starting a conversation.
Can I suggest that lessons can be learned from the Scottish traditions?
I don't know about you but I create long lists of New Year's resolutions and, inevitably, disappoint myself by not sticking at them very long. It certainly takes the fun out of the New Year's party thing.