Are more systems the answer?

My committee meeting today felt rather painful. I can keep a clear head and a straight face in a lot of situations, but when I am the subject of conversation (at least any conversation that goes beyond something stupid I have done) I feel so uncomfortable and I have to battle hard not to screw my face up into a giant wince.

When things are depersonalised it is not such an issue, possibly because I am quite self absorbed and want to participate in the process of critical appraisal too. When I (rather than a project, piece of work, idea) is the subject of gaze then suddenly any opinion I might have also becomes part of the subject. Perhaps that is one of the issues I have with supervision; my supervisor is supporting me, as a student, rather than the project.

Today was very much about me, because I made it that way. In the form I discussed the things I have done and the anxieties I have. Sure it is nice for them to reassure me if I do these things and write those drafts I will get there in the end. However, I really want somebody to sit down with me and say, ‘So what is this saying about that? Let’s work it out.’  

This is work I have to do, and work I have to take responsibility for. In some ways that is what supervision can offer in small doses, but I have not been able to foster the type of relationship that will make that happen. Before I can get too annoyed/ filled with self pity, I first need to do the hack work of reviewing, coding and processing my ‘data’. Second on the list is that I need to clearly delineate what it is that I am trying to say something about, as I cannot expect anybody to join me in every direction which happens to take my fancy.

Slogging through notes, records and items sounds like the sort of job you can plan for and benchmark your progress throughout. Maybe I need to stop thinking about what system I could use and just start working within one?

I really do feel like a variation of Buridan’s ass, with both finding a question in the literature and processing all my data equally out of reach. I doubt that hovering in the middle writing blog posts is going to satisfy my wishes or needs.

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