This isn't really a complaint: I've done amazing things since the start of June that I never would have thought would be achievable in the next three years, let alone within four weeks. (If you're wondering how the Aspire conference went - it was amazing. I've actually not blogged about it yet because I want to do it justice.) But the lack of balance has been worrying me: suddenly my PhD seemed a remote idea; something quaint and loose and not pressing; something removed from my everyday life.
As a part-time PhD student and sufferer of imposter syndrome (you too? Wow! Great! We should talk.) this had been really worrying me over the last two weeks. If I can go a month doing barely any PhD work and not really minding, does that mean I care enough? Should I even be doing this? Who was I kidding, I'm not made for PhDing - I love public speaking and coaching and innovation...maybe this is a sign. Maybe I'm wasting my time!
And so on.
But, I also know that I need to be forgiving. I need to make the same allowances of myself that I do of everyone else. And I need to remember that having other elements to your identity, to your life, doesn't invalidate your identity as a researcher. (Even if the consistent noise on twitter about wordcounts and editing progress make me think every other PhD student doesn't sleep.) This isn't because I'm a special snowflake: even the most dedicated stay-in-the-lab-till-midnight PhD student is more than just that.
I suppose that for a part-timer, you have to prioritise all those other bits at the very least because otherwise you don't have money for food. But the last few weeks have done more than that: rather than seeing my enthusiasm for other times as a weakness, I'm trying to remind myself that I LOVE enthusiasm. I love it in others, and I love it in myself. And having more of that, for more things, surely can't be bad?
And speaking of enthusiasm, guess what?
I can't WAIT to get back to research later this week.