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Preparing to apply to do a PhD...


I'm linking this post up with 'I'm grateful for...' at Maxabella Loves.

Since the end of last year, when I finally finished my Master's Thesis, I've been thinking about and planning for applying to do a PhD in Creative Writing.

The Master's thesis consisted of a 40 000 word creative piece - in my case a Youth Adult novel - and a 10 000 word exegesis (which is something like an essay about the whys and hows of writing the novel including a review of similar pieces of work currently on the market). The PhD I'd like to do at Deakin University is a bit like the Master's degree, except the creative piece will be about 80 000 words (another YA novel) and the exegesis will be about 20 000 words. So, double the word length for everything.

You'd think, having done a research Masters before, and gaining a Distinction at the end of it, I'd feel fairly confident applying to do the next step, the PhD.

Nothing could be further from the truth! I have no idea what I'm doing, really. I know what I want to research - the progression of folkloric literacy in Icelandic immigrants to Australia - but I am lost about where to start researching this. I'm not even sure I have the resources right now (while I'm not connected to a university and have no memberships to journal databases and so on) to speak authoritatively on the gap my research would be bridging. Thank goodness I know exactly what I want to write for the creative piece, at least that is something!

So, this week I'm grateful for...


  • Knowing what I want to write for my major creative piece.
  • My mum, who has already started her PhD and can help me distill my thoughts and prepare my proposal. Having some sort of mentor in the application process is something I think all PhD candidates would benefit from. If you can find someone who has done it before you, then that will relieve a lot of stress. If that person did their PhD at the university you're apply to, BONUS! If they researched somewhere within your field that is also a bonus (mum is at a different university to where I want to apply but is researching in a related field, which is great for me because she gets what it is I want to achieve!).
  • My friend Jayne, who is studying at the university I am applying to and is willing to be my security blanket at the Open Day tomorrow! (she may be getting sick of being referred to as my security blanket, I really should think of another term - any suggestions?)
  • My husband - the ever constant Grumpy Old Man who has put up with my almost-constant anxiety since he first encouraged me through the process of applying to do a Post Graduate Diploma in Education way back in 1997. He is the one who picks up the slack when I'm up until 5am writing. He cheers me on when I'm at a low ebb. He celebrates with me when I reach a minor or major goal. He's even dragged himself out in driving rain with pneumonia to physically hand in one of my assignments when I'd been up for two days straight finishing it and no energy left to travel across town to hand it in myself!
What are you grateful for?

Comments

Jayne said…
Haha ...happy to be a security blanket-better that than a wet blanket rofl ;)

It goes both ways though-you have totally inspired me to study in the first place-which has been a life changing decision for me xx :-)
Sif said…
Aw! The love! I'm very nervous about tomorrow, in as much as I really don't know what I want to ask but feel that if I don't ask something I'll regret not using the opportunity that presented itself...
Chantel said…
How exciting!!! I am looking at enrolling in a Law degree once I finish my MBA, so I know the trepidation at actually applying - and the fact that once you are on the rollercoaster - there is no stopping it :o) Best wishes Dr Sif with the application ;O)
Oh wow! Good luck! It sounds like you have your head on straight! KNowing what you want to write is huge! Just wow! What an inspiration you are! And love that it is "all in the family" as well!
Sif said…
Chantel, so true about the roller coaster and I've been pushing it to the back of my mind because of that, but I now I really want to get it done, so I just I need to jump on sooner rather than later...

Daisy, I've been really lucky with the creative piece because it came to me while writing the Masters piece (they're two parts of the same story). It's the research that is daunting!
That's great. I hope the Open Day proves useful. When I'm not on paternal leave, I work in admin at a university and often feel inspired to study again. I'm just not sure I have the discipline in me. It's been too long! Good on you for doing so.
Sif said…
You can go back, Veronica! My mum did start uni until she was 50ish! I think I'll probably still be enrolled in some course or another when I'm 80, LOL, I'm addicted!
Amy said…
You got a disticntion on your Masters piece?! Go you!

I think it is absolutly fabulous that you have the ambition that you do with regards to study. You really are setting a great example for your boys.

My parents never went to uni and hadn't realy budgetted for me to go (I have no idea why, I had been planning to for the whole time I was at high school) They couldn't afford for me to go away for uni and the course options locally where limited, so I ended up enrolling by distance and getting a full-time job. I felt isoalted by distance ed and still haven't completed the degree. At almost 26 I have plenty of time up my sleeve, but I really have no idea what I want to pursue. Hubby has his whole career mapped out, and I kind off resent him for that even though I shouldn't!

Okay I am rambling now. But I am just in awe of you, lol.
Wow Sif that's fantastic. Good luck. x
Sif said…
Amy, it'll come to you! I often fret about what I'm going to be when I grow up - sometimes being a writer seems like a pipe dream, sometimes I kid myself I'm already doing it!

My parents never dreamt of me going to uni, they never talked about or planned for it. Neither of them had finished high school, so I guess it just wasn't something they even thought about. At one point I think they both thought so long as I stayed out of a sheltered workshop that'd be fantastic.

Of course, now my mum has finished high school and a degree and a masters degree as well - she didn't even start that process until her 30s...

There is always time!

Courtney, thanks!
Sif said…
I should mention, I have an enormous HECS and Austudy debt - my parents weren't in a position to pay for anything for me, not fees or supplies or housing, it just wasn't on the cards, so I worked as a Residential assistant during my undergraduate degree to help pay for ressies, and took out a lot of study loans...
Maxabella said…
Go for it! GO FOR IT!

At the end of the day, at the very least it's impetus to keep writing and creating and learning. No price is too high to pay for that. You are obviously a both a talented writer AND student, so you need to do this. Why not?! x

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