With a little bit of help, maybe I can do the rest myself

Between processing the idea that my supervisor has not known what I have been doing for the past two years, preparing for the previously postponed office move and waiting for the landslide of marking to lurch my way later this week, I have felt pretty okay about my low productivity. Perhaps part of my acceptance is that I have been able to use some of my time to do those bits and pieces I have been putting off for months.

One of those tasks was to go get my eyes tested. I have been struggling with focusing, and have been having a bit of trouble telling the difference between stationary and moving objects. While there was a gritty charm in complaining about my inability to bring the world into focus without a lot of effort both when it came to my vision and my project, it turns out I can get glasses that should help a lot. I used the university optometry service and the supervisor was explaining to the student that, while I was having a couple of different issues, they just needed to compensate for one as that would be able to take enough pressure off my eyes for them to take care of the rest of the work themselves. I learnt a lot about my eyes, and ended up with the title for this post.

Today I was assisted with thinking about how I might set about planning my thesis. I know academics often praise the students who enrol, disappear and reappear with a full draft. However, I am not one of those students and do not apologise for that. It has been reassuring to learn that it is possible to be engaged with where I am at, and get the help that comes from somebody pointing out what I might need to bring into focus within the frame I am pursuing.

Being able to offer a lens for students to test, with just enough power to help them be able to undertake the rest of the work of focusing themselves, could be one of the most remarkable skills of a supervisor. Do you think that this is a learnt skill or just a special talent?


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