My mental capabilities aren’t what they were ten years ago when I embarked on my undergraduate studies. Certainly that’s how it feels a decade later as an unsettled post-grad student.
I’m working on finishing my R1 or at least the first complete draft of it. The literature review has been a particular struggle in terms of crafting a coherent discussion from a wide-ranging collection of papers. It’s only 1000 words and so how difficult can it be?
There’s a definite leap between two paragraphs in the literature review. My supervisor suggests a few papers that I should cover in my review. These fall into three categories.
- Papers I haven’t read before.
- Papers I have read before and remember reading.
- Papers I have read before and don’t remember reading.
Although I have issues with not having included all three types of paper, it’s the third that particularly troubles me. I track down a suggested paper and save it on my computer. “A file with the name you specified already exists”. Does it? Apparently I downloaded it six months’ ago. Oh yes, here are my notes.
The problem was summed up nicely by Olympic rowing champion James Cracknell on a radio programme last night. A young triathlete was saying how good he felt about his training and what a privilege it was to have sport as a job. I could identify with this, obviously not as an athlete but as the recipient of a studentship which means I can devote my time to something I enjoy. Then James Cracknell suggested that he should make the most of it while he has no children.
After another week of disturbed sleep, it’s-too-early-in-the-morning visitors, crying baby, ill little girl, falling asleep at 9 pm and not being able to remember what I’ve read I have to agree.