So, I promised a recap of my last three weeks as a postgrad. Where do I begin?
Hectic. They’ve been hectic.
Today is exactly three months since I started my masters. And over the past three weeks, the reality of it all has sunk in.
I’m now at the halfway point before my 6 month review point, and the pressure is starting to build. I think I’m on top of what I’m doing (at least it feels that way), but there’s still stress lurking in the background. I’ve been focusing on writing a literature review for my supervisors, which has taken up a lot of time and energy. Writing it has made me realise how (relatively) on top of the secondary literature I am, which is reassuring at least.
At the same time, I’m starting to serious think about primary material, and everything that goes along with the next stage of my research. A lot of it is things I’m dealing with for the first time: archival research, oral history, ethics clearance. That’s just part of the research process, but it’s still adding to the stress.
Aside from uni, life has been busy in general. The moving process is stressful. I went back to see my family last weekend for my mum’s birthday (and to meet my little brother’s new puppy), which was lovely but didn’t necessarily help with the stress. This has been the first weekend all month where I’ve just been able to sit back and try to relax a bit.
I love what I do, and I love my research topic, but sometimes life is just stressful. It can be hard to compartmentalise the stress at the end of the day, particularly when my anxiety sneaks into the picture. Sometimes, it’s important to just take a step back, and spend some time focusing on myself and my wellbeing.
I’m not going to say ‘hopefully the next few weeks won’t be stressful’, because they will. I’m just going to focus on managing the stress, and trying to keep on top of that whole work-life balance thing everyone’s always talking about.