In order for you to understand where I’m coming from with this post, you need to understand a few things about me:
- I currently rent in two locations, one with my partner (home) and one is a temporary home (caravan park two-three nights a week);
- I am easily distracted by people around me;
- I am usually quite happy to sit alone and work; and
- I am a perfectionist (and not the good kind) – when I think that I won’t be able to do a good enough job at something, I won’t do it and I will stress about it. This means that I worry about the task, but never get anything done, as I don’t think it will meet the standards expected. This means that when I find a time and a place where I am productive, then I need to make good use of it.
For my PhD I am being most productive at the library and at my temporary home. When I am at either home, I will sit and study all day, all of a sudden realising that the day has whizzed by and I need to go do some exercise. I also really enjoy sitting outside and studying, rather than being inside a room and missing daylight. I have also found the university library to be a location where I will sit all day and work. I posit that the library and my temporary home are such a good places to study as I do not know anyone around me or do not have anyone around to distract me. At the library or at home, I pop my noise-cancelling headphones on and read/edit/write without distraction.
When I am in the PhD study room, I have people around me that I am starting to get to know. I quite like these people, would like to develop a working relationship with them (especially since we will be going into careers in academia together and may work together on projects in the future), and see the benefits of a collegial workplace, however I feel that there is an expectation to bond, to discuss projects, to share experiences, to talk… None of these are ‘bad’, in fact most people would find that sharing experiences and bonding will make the PhD journey better. I am in the first few months of my PhD and have put myself on a tight schedule – I have work, I have travel between homes, I want to have a social life. When I am in the PhD study room, I need to dedicate myself to my studies, otherwise I am losing time in other parts of my life.
Maybe when I am in a different place with my studies I will have a different point of view on this.