Friday, September 28, 2012


Have you ever watched a silkworm spin a cocoon? Tranquil - yet lots of work. The last few weeks PhD-procrastination effort has involved a short walk to the local uni carpark to pick a few mulberry leaves to feed the worms. Ok I get strange looks and the odd question, I'm fairly used to that outcome in life. The worms hatched in June (of course we forgot about them) so only half survived the year long wait to emerge from the envelop in our pantry. Starvation probably beats last years culling effort - I fed the excess worms to the chooks. My Mum used to keep silk worms when we were kids and for some reason I have followed the tradition. Our boys know about the life cycle, watching with varying levels of interest as the worms grow from being a millimetre in size to the current 7cm fat caterpillars. Just last night two started to weave their cocoons. Its time to place more egg cups in the box so they have a safe spot to build their sleepy homes ready to emerge as moths for the fun-reproductive stage of life ; )

I woke with a cold this morning. Great excuse to hang with the boys rather than bury my head into statistics. We'll visit the local growers market, change the silkworms home with clean newspaper, play computer games, build bionicles and dare to shop for school shoes. I remember a motivational speaker at school who recommended doing the ironing when you were sick as you may aswell get the horrid jobs out of the way when you feel awful. She also kindly referred to buckets of chips as buckets of fat. Yes she was the famous nutritionist, Rosemary Stanton who was the Mum of numerous kids at our school. Back then she wasn't as well know as she is today. I tend to use sick days as no thinking days - these normally turn into fun-productive homedays.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Alas it's official, I've failed to complete my thesis before my candidature ran out. It appears to not be possible to finish a PhD whilst raising three kids, remaining married, birthing a child and moving interstate. Tomorrow my PhD is due- whoops. I still need to finish a paper and the discussion - there is no way I can hand it in.

Tears ran down my face today at the school assembly. I tried really hard to not let anyone realise I was crying. It dawned on me that what I was experiencing at school was worth the wait. My eldest son (10yr old) played the piano at the start of the assembly. I was so proud of him. He volunteered to do it and he played beautifully. He is no Mozart but the Boogie jazz piece he played off by heart made me proud. I wish I had the confidence like him to just give it a go. I watched the kids dance and sing, entertaining all the proud parents in attendance. I was so happy to have the opportunity to see them. It's been lovely watching the kids grow over the past 7.5 years. Just last week the kids dressed up for bookweek. I took an hour away from study to watch the parade. An hour well spent : ) Being a part of the kids life was the type of parent I wanted to be. I can accept an unfinished PhD knowing I managed to be there for most of the little moments such as assembly today.

I'm sure the tears were provoked by my knowledge of the eminent failure. At the assembly I felt anything but a failure. I felt like a proud mother of three gorgeous boys. Ok I failed to finish my PhD before my candidature ran out. Life and family is worth this slight failure. Luckily I have one years extension on my candidature so I'll still finish the PhD monster. Stay tuned- its getting close!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Aims or objectives or hypothesis or goal or enlightenment= 42

The answer is 42. If only we knew the question. Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy is a classic book that seems to answer why a PhD thesis is so difficult. If we know the answer then we need to know the question. Neither is easy to define. Today I have put the entire day aside to make my thesis aims and objectives clear.

Studying across three differing universities makes the "simple" (lol) task of writing my aims seem impossible. Everyone has differing views and styles. Hmmmm which one is correct? Well that is the beauty of it, clearly if no one agrees then there is not a black and white answer. The main thing is to make them clear so the reader can work out what you are attempting to do and so the discussion can link nicely back into them.  I'd be fascinated to hear if any student used the same aims/objectives in their final thesis as they did in their proposal. Your ideas are refined during your candidature and it's unlikely they are the same at the end as when you started. If they were the same as your proposal was the journey really worth it? Did you learn on the way?

So in order to better work out the ideal "aim" I've been procrastinating by searching the web. Here are some interesting sites I found- just to fuel your own procrastination. If you know some good sites for thesis writing - especially  aims -please leave a comment.

How to write a PhD thesis


What is a Thesis Statement?

How to Write a Thesis: 


Marias Diploma and Ph.D Thesis writing suggestions


Writing a thesis proposal


10 easy ways to fail a Ph.D.

Aims, Objectives and Guidelines for PhD Students

Planning a PhD: Getting Your Research aim/question Right

With this small selection of web-sites and numerous completed PhD thesis to guide me I'm a step closer to knowing the question, but then again maybe my answer isn't 42.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


It's been a week since the Perth conference. I was in the wrong headspace for the conference. All I wanted to do was to finish this never ending PhD. It was great to catch up with friends, especially the Project Vesta researchers. Most of the time I spent thinking how much I'd rather be writing than listening. Normally a conference is motivational but this time it was a hindrance. I was dreading telling everyone I've still not finished. I actually ran into the right person just before I boarded the plane. He took something like ten years to finish his PhD and he has since gone on to have a  great career. This gave me some peace of mind. I've seen many students start and finish in my time studying. Its always lovely to see their delighted faces when its all over. Best part of the conference was walking around the Kings Park garden. The wildflowers were exquisite.

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