Tuesday Jun 21, 2022
The Messy Podcast
Tuesday Jun 21, 2022
Tuesday Jun 21, 2022
In this episode of R, D and the Inbetweens I am talking to Jamie Pei, PhD aka The Messy PhD/The Messy Coach about research, messiness and how we can challenge and subvert the academic system!
Music credit: Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
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Hello and welcome to RD and the in-betweens.
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I'm your host, Kelly Preece, and every fortnight I talk to a different guest about researchers, development and everything in between.
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Hello, and welcome to the latest episode of RD and the in-betweens.
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In this episode, I'm delighted to be talking to my friend and colleague Jamie Pei from the Messy Ph.D.
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Jamie delivers some training sessions on messiness in research on the Research
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Development Programme at Exeter and also provides training and coaching for Ph.D. students
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and beyond that, through life coaching. In our conversation, we talk about messiness, in research and in life,
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and how kind of acknowledging that messiness and sitting with it might subvert some of the
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typical kind of problematic cultures and approaches to academia and research in general.
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So I'm Jamie Pei. I completed my Ph.D. in women's studies from the University of York.
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It feels like such a long time ago, but I officially graduated last year and I am now a life and Ph.D. coach,
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and I also do workshops and training for postgraduate researchers.
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So I've done some training with you, Kelly, for the University of Exeter,
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which I've totally enjoyed, and I'm now working on building out my Ph.D. coaching work.
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So part of what's led us to this is that you've done some journalism training for me at the University of Exeter,
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which has been really popular and I think has really just.. because it's really resonated with the PGR community and
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particularly in the way that you approach the, kind of, the research journey and this concept of of messiness.
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And I wondered if you could sort of say a little bit about
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what this idea that like the messy PHD is and how that evolved in your thinking and in your practise?
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Yes. So I guess I'd have to go all the way back to my own Ph.D. and maybe even a little bit before that.
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So in my previous life, before coming back to academia,
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I was a journalist and my last job before coming back into my Ph.D. was in fashion journalism.
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I was working for a fashion magazine and everything there is, you know, it has to be perfect, right?
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Like, in journalism, there is no room for messiness. There's no room for mistakes, really.
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And now I was like, given this world where like no, the messiness is where all the good stuff happens, and that's where things are rich.
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That's where you get to be curious. That's where the new questions and the new ideas come up.
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And so that was the research side of it, like the messiness of the actual research.
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But the other components to messiness is about the messiness of being a human being
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doing the research. You know, there's this..
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I think there's this mistaken view that because we are highly qualified and highly educated,
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that we know the answers to everything that we've all got to have our shit together
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and knowing how to write a good thesis or do good research or be,
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you know, be really competent in the labs also means that you know how to perfectly balance your life,
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how to be productive, how to stay motivated and all that other stuff that comes with just being human.
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But that's not necessarily true.
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And so much of the Ph.D journey like my own, as well as my colleagues and all the friends that I met through the course of my Ph.D.,
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you know, most people don't struggle with the actual work, right?
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Like people know how to do the experimental, how to use SPSS or whatever it is.
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People struggle with all the other messy in-betweens.
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And that's why I sort of came up with the term messy, because it's stuff that isn't really, can't always be clearly defined,
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that there isn't always a clear roadmap too, there almost never is like formal university-led training to deal with this messiness.
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Even though that messy, that messy journey, the messy experiences are really what characterise a lot of people's doctoral journey and experience.
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And I can go into that a little bit more.
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I can talk about this forever, but really, it's things like the emotional fallout struggling with work life balance,
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the feelings of imposter syndrome, fear of failure, deep insecurity that you're not good enough and that can prevail all the way through the Ph.D.
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Overwork, the guilt that comes with doing a Ph.D. guilt in terms of always feeling like you should be working more.
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And even when you're doing perfectly normal, acceptable things like sleep or cook dinner, you're feeling guilty.
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The kind of glorification of suffering and the messiness of feeling like my Ph.D. is not worthy
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or I am not worthy unless I'm suffering and how to kind of deal with those sorts of emotions.
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So I'm not by any means a trained mental health professional or a therapist or anything like that.
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But these are things that I've worked through a lot in my own life, not just in the Ph.D.
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Beyond that as well, and is something that I started to identify a lot in the trainings that I was doing
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in the kind of peer led workshops that I was running while I was still doing my Ph.D.
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You know, people, people are coming in to trainings.
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And yes, you know, the initial concerns might be, how do I write a lit review or how do I organise my references?
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But actually given time and space and all the other messy things come up where people are like, Oh, I'm feeling like I'm behind.
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I constantly feel like I'm not good enough, and all these other things come up.
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I'm feeling really validated and reassured to have their experience represented because I think two things really stuck out for me
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on what you were saying first is that,
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You know, I often say the kind of people that end up doing a Ph.D or research degree of some kind are people that have been,
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in some sense, high achievers. Yeah, for sure.
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throughout their academic career and are perfectionists and highly critical and these are the things that make us really good at research.
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And in some ways, they make us good at research, but bad at being researchers in the sense that..
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it begets the, kind of, some of the messiness that you're talking about and the imposter syndrome and the feeling everything needs to be fixed and
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plan-able and clearly laid out, and it's just not that.
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Yeah, yeah, and it' also that discomfort with the messiness, you know,
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because we are perfectionists and we like to have full control over how things are going to turn out and how we envisage things to be
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and how we envisage ourselves to be as we're doing that research and the nature of research is that it necessarily needs to be messy,
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right? Like, if it wasn't messy, if we did know everything and we could control everything,
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and then there wouldn't be the need to do the research right? because we would already know everything.
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Yeah. So it's like learning to be OK with the fact that things are not perfect and actually to see that messiness as a resource.
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And that's something I always talk about.
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Like, I always say that the magic is in the mess, and I know that sounds like such a sort of almost like Disney-fied woowoo thing to say,
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but especially in research, you know, so much good stuff comes out of not knowing or of confusion or initial confusion.
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And, you know, the not being in full control of things because that's where your data is telling you things or, you know,
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you're struck by new methods or new ideas or perspectives that you might not otherwise have thought of if you'd followed that plan exactly
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and perfectly. Exactly, and as someone that comes from, kind of, from an artistic background,
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that kind of idea of the knowledge and the productiveness and all the good things coming from the mess really,
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really speaks to the kind of artist training in me because, you know..
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That yeah, that is how we create new knowledge and new understanding, it is from the messy and with the unknown and from the discomfort.
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But it's not something that we are trained to deal with in life, let alone in research, you know, if you think about just,
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you know, with my head on and kind of the British education system from a young age,
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you're taught to put everything in boxes and everything's kind of measurable and neat, even though it's not.
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And no wonder we get young people coming to university and, you know,
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as undergraduates and postgraduates who kind of don't know how to deal with the mess and the
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discomfort because all we've done is try to kind of teach them that the world is not like that.
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Yeah. You know, this comes also of like,
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capitalist, patriarchal, colonised cultures, right where, you know, productivity is king, success, self-made success,
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all that, the drive being productive, being successful, being entrepreneurial and all that, that is prized above everything else.
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So I think a lot of us, myself included, you know, when I talk about all this,
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I'm not talking about PGRs and Ph.D students as something separate from me.
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I absolutely went through all of this myself and I still do, like, not as a Ph.D. student now.
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It's just the bar has just moved somewhere else now that I'm starting my own online coaching stuff.
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But there's this idea that like, you know, the whole Ph.D journey rests on what you produce at the end of it, right?
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Like, everything hinges on that thesis.
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The viva. What you have produced.
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But there's something huge that my supervisor also said to me midway through my Ph.D., which was, she said, you know,
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you're not just being assessed on what you're researching, you're actually being, especially as a as a Ph.D. student.
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And we are I know that we kind of rail against the term student because we want to be sort of regarded as sort of higher up the chain or whatever.
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But ultimately, we are still students. We are in an educational programme.
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And part of that education and that assessment is, it's not just assessing what we're producing, it's assessing how we're doing that research.
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And I think that is a huge element that isn't emphasised enough.
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And, you know, I was really fortunate that my, like I said,
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my supervisor loved messiness and that kind of creative discomfort and figuring out the 'how' of doing that research throughout the process.
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So, you know, that was very much built into the way that she supervised me and guided me through those three or four years.
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But I think a lot of people don't get that, you know, everyone's just got their eye on like the final product.
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I have to produce a perfect piece of research where my results match my hypothesis or whatever,
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where I can answer my research questions perfectly and everything matches up.
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Nothing must ever go wrong because then it shows I failed as a researcher,
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but actually examiners, supervisors, they're expecting things to fail, right?
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Like, they know that research is messy. They know that research is unpredictable. Shit happens.
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There's a pandemic in the world or whatever, machinery breaks down.
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People leave things in the lab overnight and electricity goes off, whatever. And it's not, like, what happens, like, what results you get,
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what the thesis is, is not as important as how you're responding at each stage of that research,
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what you're doing, what decisions you're taking and how you're justifying those decisions.
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And that, I think, I see now now that looking back and now that I've had some distance from it, you know,
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like how you're doing the research and how you are as a researcher really is more important than what it is that you are producing.
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Does that make sense? It absolutely makes sense that it really feeds into, kind of, my approach to research development,
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which is, you know, there's the elements of, we do of research development,
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which are about developing the research and your ability to do the research, that actually the whole kind of concept behind,
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you know, research development framework is looking at the researcher in a holistic fashion.
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And I think sometimes because, you know, we're so focussed on getting students through in x number of years and all that sort of
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stuff that we forget that actually it's the researcher that we're developing.
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And I'm really reminded in what you're saying about, say, Pat Thompson from Nottingham.
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I wrote this blog post once about and it really, really stood out for me about how the thesis is a representation of the research.
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It's a narrative that you're curating for a particular audience, and it has to be
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linear and well-structured and
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you know, a kind of, Logical argument that develops and all this, all those sorts of things, but that's not what research is like.
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Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
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At the end of it, you have to produce this document which has this linearity and coherency that the research process just does not.
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And so, you know, then the representation of the thing that we hold up at the end of it,
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that we examine, isn't necessarily the thing that's actually reflective of what the process of doing it is like,
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and I always thought that was really interesting and a really interesting way to think about writing
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your thesis is actually, you know,
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you're telling the story of you doing this research and you're constructing it for your examiner as an audience.
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Mm hmm. And so you need to kind of step away from what it felt like to do it almost and think about how to kind of look at it from the outside.
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Yeah, there is this definitely that kind of disjuncture between the living research and that process of it.
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And the telling of it, you know, in a way that's going to tick the boxes to pass the Ph.D. as well.
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And for me personally, my experience of the research couldn't really be divorced from, like, the how couldn't really be divorced from the what.
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And there was a time that I was thinking a lot about actually changing my thesis
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to be more focussed on the methodology of it and the kind of epistemology behind it,
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because researcher reflexivity and all that kind of thing was really important to me.
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And in the final version of the thesis, I think does leave out a lot that is potentially more interesting,
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I think, and more rich because it's really about how I did the research and how I grew as a researcher.
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But obviously, like, that's not necessarily what examiners want. So that's another messy thing as well.
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You know, the story that you want to tell and that you've lived through your research and what it is that you are telling your researcher?
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That's a whole other topic, though I think. And the thing is as well,
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the other thing that's part of messiness is like, I think a lot of PGRs I come across feel this that, you know,
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we feel like we're the only person in the world who doesn't know what they're doing and everybody else has their shit together.
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And I'm always saying, like, literally nobody else does any fucking clue what they're doing either.
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Everybody is just figuring it out.
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This is part of being, it's a being human thing. It's not a research thing or an academic thing.
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It's just part of being human being, right? Yeah, absolutely.
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And that's why I think the, kind of, the work that you're doing and the route that you're taking, it just really, really resonates really,
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really speaks to me in terms of my experience because it is.. what you've kind
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of ended up doing is articulating something that I feel like I've lived,
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and not really known how to pass on to people, I've talked to a little bit about my kind of,
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about my journey and the kind of intersections of my professional and personal lives.
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But yeah, just, I think the kind of, the work that you're doing, the messy Ph.D. and the intersection of research and life coaching..
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Just really speaks to what my experience has been like working in higher education, I guess.
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Yeah, I just, I kind of, and I rant about this on Twitter a lot, I say, you know,
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you could have the most perfect sweep of training and workshops for your Ph.D. community,
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like, how to write the Ph.D., you know, workshops on academic writing, on software, on data management,
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all of that, but it wouldn't matter at all.
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Like, not a single bit, if the person is a mess, you know, and what else is going on in their life is a mess.
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You know, you need to sort that out first, and in most instances,
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Ph.D. students are highly intelligent, highly capable people, like, doing the work is not the problem.
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It's everything else that is around the work that usually is the problem, right?
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And also, you know, like you say, just because you are an intelligent person doesn't mean you instinctively know how to navigate
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doing a really intense research project alongside a traumatic life event
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Yes, and not to mention all the other structural things that you're dealing with,
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like the racism and the sexism and the ableism and all that you know, that's so endemic and in-built within the academy as well.
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Yeah. And then also dealing with the messy nature of research itself, right?
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Like, things being unpredictable and dealing with data that goes wrong or pandemics and all this.
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And it's it is a huge piece of work for a lot of people that it's going to be the largest
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independently done piece of work they've done to up to that point in their life.
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And a lot of it's kind of done on your own as well. You know, you're not necessarily working like you would in a job.
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And that's another thing. That's another part of messiness. Is that sense of loneliness, right?
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And kind of dealing with that, like how do you figure out your own feelings?
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How do you fit in with your community? So, yeah, I mean, that's something that I try and address in my coaching as well.
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One of the things that I found really palpable in my role in research development is the desire people have to come to me for the answer.
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Yeah, they want to come to training or they want to come and talk to me because they they think,
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Well, you're in this job, so you must have you must have the answer. And then they come to me and I go.
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Not only do I not have the answer, but there isn't an answer
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Yeah, yeah. And it's a really confronting experience for a lot of people.
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But why can't you? But why can't you give me the answer? I can't give you an answer that doesn't exist.
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Yeah, I feel that so much, yeah. It's really painful in the sense that, you know, people are desperate
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for you to give them the answer, not because they are incapable or any of those things,
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but because the system is kind of really rigid and really convincing them that there has to be an answer and there has to be a way.
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Then people like me swan in and go, 'no it doesn't really work like that, there isn't a way.'
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And that's exactly how it was for me as well with my supervisor, you know,
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and needing to know the right answer in a particular way and also needing to have a very rigid structure like,
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'Oh, I should be here by now, I should have attained this by now.'
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And I remember saying to my supervisor once, like,
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I basically need you to chase me around with a stick and make sure that I'm on track and like, beat me
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if I haven't submitted things on time. And she was horrified that I said that.
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And it really took me almost like two years to really, like
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It took two years for it to jig that, Oh, you know what, actually, I'm in charge of this completely.
00:23:48,200 --> 00:23:57,500
I get to call the shots. There isn't a particular way of doing this and only one way of doing this, and I'm actually not reporting to anyone.
00:23:57,500 --> 00:24:04,400
This is why it's another weird, messy space because, you know, you're not submitting work to a teacher to assess,
00:24:04,400 --> 00:24:07,640
so there isn't a right answer in that way.
00:24:07,640 --> 00:24:17,310
And up until this point, you know, in most taught degrees, there is some degree of what's the right answer or the right way of doing things.
00:24:17,310 --> 00:24:19,400
And then suddenly you're in this space where
00:24:19,400 --> 00:24:28,660
Like, actually, there's like 981 different ways that you could do this and a potentially infinite number of answers to this.
00:24:28,660 --> 00:24:38,870
Yes. So what we're saying is you come into a research degree and you're working with someone who's not your teacher and who's not your boss.
00:24:38,870 --> 00:24:45,910
Yeah. Independently for the first time. And so you've got to kind of motivate yourself in a way that you've never had
00:24:45,910 --> 00:24:50,950
to before, you're undertaking something where nobody has the answers for you.
00:24:50,950 --> 00:24:52,750
You've got to go and find them.
00:24:52,750 --> 00:25:04,870
You're used to things being quantifiable and linear and coherent, and things are messy, complicated and throw curve balls at you all the time.
00:25:04,870 --> 00:25:10,090
And whilst you're doing this, you need to navigate adulthood and life.
00:25:10,090 --> 00:25:14,230
Potentially, you know, if you're going through a conventional route, let's say
through the system,
00:25:14,230 --> 00:25:20,020
you're encountering adulthood and life and life experiences that you've not had to..
00:25:20,020 --> 00:25:29,410
Deal with before. Regardless of when you're doing a Ph.D., you know, you've got you've got to do with life and life events and a global pandemic.
00:25:29,410 --> 00:25:36,920
And. Yeah, yeah.
00:25:36,920 --> 00:25:40,770
Yeah, it's it's a whole mash up, isn't it? It's..
00:25:40,770 --> 00:25:48,360
Kind of figuring out the expectations on top of all this as well, then you know, you were thrust into this community,
00:25:48,360 --> 00:25:57,870
which is extremely competitive and where there are already these existing narratives of what it means to work hard,
00:25:57,870 --> 00:26:04,140
what it means to be successful, what is considered valuable research.
00:26:04,140 --> 00:26:11,940
You know, these ideas that infiltrate around 'you should be working all the time' and 'working harder and more hours means you
00:26:11,940 --> 00:26:19,920
are a better researcher' and those kinds of horrible myths that kind of get perpetuated and re-perpetuated
00:26:19,920 --> 00:26:27,300
I really dislike the memes and the jokes on Twitter and on social media that poke fun at,
00:26:27,300 --> 00:26:33,240
like, Ph.D. is not having a life and oh, weekends, what are they? and those kinds of things
00:26:33,240 --> 00:26:38,610
And I get it that people need to blow off steam and and kind of make light of it.
00:26:38,610 --> 00:26:45,720
But inadvertently, it does also perpetuate this notion of, you know, this need to constantly work.
00:26:45,720 --> 00:26:50,790
And then therefore, if you're not constantly working, if you're not struggling,
00:26:50,790 --> 00:26:56,580
if you're actually finding your Ph.D. quite enjoyable, then there's this idea that maybe you're doing something wrong.
00:26:56,580 --> 00:26:58,320
So like on top of, you know,
00:26:58,320 --> 00:27:08,490
figuring out what it means to be a grown up in the world and surviving in the pandemic and learning a new way of working and researching and studying.
00:27:08,490 --> 00:27:16,800
On top of that, all of this is happening within this extremely competitive, highly pressurised environment,
00:27:16,800 --> 00:27:26,580
and you have to navigate that as well and set your boundaries within that space as well.
00:27:26,580 --> 00:27:30,240
And it's, you know, it sounds so easy, right? Like just set boundaries.
00:27:30,240 --> 00:27:33,390
Just say no. But what,
00:27:33,390 --> 00:27:41,880
What 'say no' for one person will look very different to what, you know, 'say no' is for somebody else and what those boundaries are.
00:27:41,880 --> 00:27:48,930
Nobody can decide them for you. You have to decide them for yourself. And that's hard to work through sometimes.
00:27:48,930 --> 00:27:52,740
Yeah, it's not a case of 'say yes to this, say no to that,
00:27:52,740 --> 00:27:57,470
say yes to this' You know, it's not a tick box exercise.
00:27:57,470 --> 00:28:05,860
Yes, absolutely not, and it's going to vary, you could be on the same project team in the same department with the same PI.
00:28:05,860 --> 00:28:18,710
And your boundaries will still look vastly different, right, from that other person. Because we are different people and our lives are different and..
00:28:18,710 --> 00:28:25,410
And therefore, our boundaries are always going to be different.
00:28:25,410 --> 00:28:32,040
Yeah, yeah, I mean, this goes for everything, right? And not just the Ph.D.
00:28:32,040 --> 00:28:41,790
Yeah, and that's another thing as well, you know, this tendency to compare that 'so-and-so is further ahead than me..
00:28:41,790 --> 00:28:48,780
they're doing better than me. They've presented at more conferences than me' and realising that like, you know,
00:28:48,780 --> 00:28:57,840
as well as having different life boundaries, people's research boundaries, people's research topics and how they're doing
00:28:57,840 --> 00:29:06,180
their research varies tremendously as well. Like, it literally is like comparing.. it's not just even comparing apples and oranges,
00:29:06,180 --> 00:29:10,750
it's like comparing a bowl of fruit with a packet of biscuits, right?
00:29:10,750 --> 00:29:13,820
Like, completely different. You know,
00:29:13,820 --> 00:29:22,380
and we compare ourselves using these unfair measurements and then we beat ourselves up for it when they're actually just not accurate at all.
00:29:22,380 --> 00:29:27,570
And then we get ourselves into more mess, right? Because then our boundaries are even more blurred.
00:29:27,570 --> 00:29:33,720
Yeah, exactly. And you just end up going around in these vicious circles.
00:29:33,720 --> 00:29:39,180
And then, you know, like we're saying earlier then that perpetuates itself amongst the people that we're
00:29:39,180 --> 00:29:43,710
teaching or supporting or that are just kind of looking at us as role models,
00:29:43,710 --> 00:29:49,430
even though we might not, you know, be intentionally kind of
00:29:49,430 --> 00:29:55,490
framing ourselves in that way, but looking at us and going, 'oh yeah, that's how you do it, that's that's how it's supposed to be.'
00:29:55,490 --> 00:30:00,870
Yeah, but even the person who looks like they know
00:30:00,870 --> 00:30:10,500
how it's supposed to be, has probably stumbled upon that by mistake or there's something going on behind the scenes, you know, like swans, right?
00:30:10,500 --> 00:30:15,680
I always think of researchers like swans, like you look like you gliding along really elegantly,
00:30:15,680 --> 00:30:23,580
but you're paddling like crazy under the bottom. And then everyone around you goes, 'Well, they can do it without..
00:30:23,580 --> 00:30:32,910
Without struggling or without it being difficult. So why can't I?' and we get into this kind of..
00:30:32,910 --> 00:30:34,370
00:30:34,370 --> 00:30:45,250
Yeah, that's something that I really want to try and normalise as well with my work, is to tell those stories of failure or falling flat or like..
00:30:45,250 --> 00:30:52,180
Exactly, I like to do in my training, I always like to do the kind of, there's always a moment where we go:
00:30:52,180 --> 00:30:58,000
And now we're going to learn from past Kelly's mistakes. I love that.
00:30:58,000 --> 00:31:05,200
And just kind of, yeah, these are all of the way, you know, because I think sometimes as well when we're doing training it,
00:31:05,200 --> 00:31:12,250
it does appear like we've we've got the answers and we know how things should be done and we know how, you know, it's important to take breaks.
00:31:12,250 --> 00:31:20,160
And I talk constantly about how important it is to take breaks, I don't take breaks, like, I'm not good at that.
00:31:20,160 --> 00:31:25,020
Yeah, yeah, I feel you. I still, if I am taking a break, I'm sat there feeling guilty.
00:31:25,020 --> 00:31:30,690
Yup, yup. The break I had today was going and hanging the washing on the line.
00:31:30,690 --> 00:31:36,990
That's not a break. Yeah, no, that's still doing something, isn't it?
00:31:36,990 --> 00:31:44,400
You know, and also, I think just because as well, just because you know how you should be doing something doesn't mean that..
00:31:44,400 --> 00:31:50,490
You are doing it that way, or that it's easy or that you can do it that way all of the time.
00:31:50,490 --> 00:31:55,380
You know, practising what you preach is actually really, really difficult.
00:31:55,380 --> 00:32:02,010
And so I think it's like that sense of being open about failure is really important because you're like,
00:32:02,010 --> 00:32:05,430
well, actually, you know, it might seem like, I know the right way.
00:32:05,430 --> 00:32:11,010
I know a lot of good ways of doing things.
00:32:11,010 --> 00:32:18,930
I know how I should approach something, or how I could, but that doesn't mean that I do it like that all the time or even at all.
00:32:18,930 --> 00:32:27,960
Yeah. Or you know, the reason that I teach the things that I teach is because I spent four years not doing them.
00:32:27,960 --> 00:32:33,420
And then now looking back, I'm like 'that's what I should have done.'
00:32:33,420 --> 00:32:45,200
And therefore don't, kind of, shame yourself for not doing the thing that you know is right for you.
00:32:45,200 --> 00:32:51,200
Don't shame yourself for getting it wrong or for..
00:32:51,200 --> 00:32:56,380
Sitting at a computer all day or working too late, you know.. You haven't failed.
00:32:56,380 --> 00:32:59,350
It's, you know, it's creating another sense of failure in a way, you know,
00:32:59,350 --> 00:33:07,800
you haven't failed if you don't achieve that or you don't kind of embody those principles.
00:33:07,800 --> 00:33:15,660
Yeah, because there is no.. to say that you failed then indicates that there is a right way of doing it, right?
00:33:15,660 --> 00:33:23,190
So you fail because you haven't done it the right way. But then there is no right way, right?
00:33:23,190 --> 00:33:28,530
And it's really kind of about figuring out what's right for you. And this is something I talk about a lot as well.
00:33:28,530 --> 00:33:33,510
Like finding your own work groove. That's another big thing.
00:33:33,510 --> 00:33:42,180
You know, a huge thing of feeling like we failed is because we feel, 'oh my goodness, I haven't worked 40 hours a week,
00:33:42,180 --> 00:33:54,320
I'm not at my desk from nine to five. I'm in the lab, but I only did two two hours out of the six hours I was there', whatever.
00:33:54,320 --> 00:34:03,290
And it's really about: it took me almost four years, I didn't really get this until maybe the very last year of my Ph.D.,
00:34:03,290 --> 00:34:08,300
and that is: so for the first four years I kept trying to be a morning person, right?
00:34:08,300 --> 00:34:17,270
So I kept saying, 'OK, I've got to be up at eight and get to my office and get a full day's worth of writing in it.'
00:34:17,270 --> 00:34:21,410
And every single day I'd wake up at like 11 and be like, 'Oh, I failed again.'
00:34:21,410 --> 00:34:26,030
Like, I didn't do the eight o'clock thing, right? And I did this for four years.
00:34:26,030 --> 00:34:30,920
And finally, like towards the end, I was like, You know what? I'm just not a morning person.
00:34:30,920 --> 00:34:37,610
My work groove is to start after 11:00, and that's OK, you know?
00:34:37,610 --> 00:34:43,910
And that's maybe not the right way for someone else, but it is absolutely the right way for me.
00:34:43,910 --> 00:34:48,110
Yeah. So then you're setting yourself up to not fail, right?
00:34:48,110 --> 00:34:54,470
Because you're finding out what's going to work for you and what's going to be right for you.
00:34:54,470 --> 00:34:59,750
Yes. I wonder if just to finish, if you could..
00:34:59,750 --> 00:35:07,520
If you could capture the philosophy of the messy Ph.D. and the work
00:35:07,520 --> 00:35:12,650
that you're doing in, like, a little soundbite or a sentence or..
00:35:12,650 --> 00:35:18,950
you know, whatever you want to call it, what's the core of it for you?
00:35:18,950 --> 00:35:28,010
If somebody listens to this podcast, which will be edited down from the hour and 45 minutes we've been talking for..
00:35:28,010 --> 00:35:34,400
however long this podcast ends up being, if somebody listens to the whole thing, what's the one thing that you want them to leave
00:35:34,400 --> 00:35:40,670
Listening to this with. I think it would be..
00:35:40,670 --> 00:35:46,220
And I mentioned this earlier. It's to find the magic in the mess.
00:35:46,220 --> 00:35:53,870
And what I mean by that is not to discard messiness, whatever that might mean for you.
00:35:53,870 --> 00:36:00,410
It's not to discard it or overlook it, or even to try to fix it or to gloss over it,
00:36:00,410 --> 00:36:07,610
but to use that messiness as a resource and to find the magic within that mess.
00:36:07,610 --> 00:36:13,040
There's usually something within that messiness that can tell you something helpful and creative,
00:36:13,040 --> 00:36:18,220
both for your research as well as for life in general.
00:36:18,220 --> 00:36:22,960
And that's it for this episode. Don't forget to like, rate and subscribe.
00:36:22,960 --> 00:36:50,063
And join me next time we'll be talking to somebody else about researchers development and everything in between.
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