Thursday, September 27, 2012

In The Darkest Part of the Tunnel

I've been feeling burned out lately. The manuscript finally got published. I don't have a candidacy exam to prepare for, I don't have any talks in the immediate future, no classes or deadlines of any sort. I've looked at the upcoming abstract submissions, and I can't see any symposia my research fits in. And for me, this is a very stressful state.

I know I have to keep my nose to the grindstone, but there's no light at the end of the tunnel right now. I have no real concept of when I'm going to graduate (2 years, +/- 1 is a heck of a window), and there's no date that tells me "if you make it to this date, you'll be *done* with something". My to-do list never seems to get shorter, I just keep finding things to add to it.

My mom and I are going to visit her relatives who live in a very rural area soon, which will hopefully give me a chance to reboot my brain, since there's no feasible way to work remotely from there. I'm also planning on leaving my laptop behind, for good measure. I don't think I've ever been so excited to go somewhere with sub-56kB/s dial-up.


  1. This is the infamous PhD dip, that almost everyone I know encounters somewhere in their PhD. Especially at points like you mention: when there's seemingly no things in the future to work towards except for your PhD which is still kind of far away. What helped me was to remember what I had already accomplished and try to set goals for yourself (or ask your advisor to set deadlines for you). This way it feels like your getting somehwere!


  3. Heh. I wish this were the only slump in your future. If I am any indication, adult life is a constant battle against slumps. My only advice is to diversify and always try to have one or two hobbies you really look forward to doing, and/or make sure you keep learning new things (a new language, a new craft, etc).