If you’ve chosen the right PhD for you it’s natural that it will take over your thoughts at times. In fact it’s often a good thing when it does take over your thought process, it demonstrates your passion for the subject and your determination to get to the bottom of any problems or struggles with your research. That said, I also think it’s important not to forget your life outside of PhD study. Putting a focus on personal development can be hugely advantageous from time to time, and for me I think that time is now.
I love my PhD, but at the moment it feels a bit like a desert with a mountain to climb that’s still a few miles away. I still feel quite new to this PhD world, and I’m unsure how I’ll handle things if/when my research doesn’t go to plan. So far I’ve been lucky in that my work hasn’t ‘failed’ yet, I haven’t had catastrophic weeks of trying to collect data to no avail and I haven’t had that sinking feeling that things might not work out. When that comes I want to be prepared for it, so I’m doing some pretty mammoth self-improvement over the summer.
Firstly I signed up to do the Edinburgh Spartan Sprint in July – I wanted a challenge that I didn’t think I could complete, but I go to the gym regularly and it’s a few months away so I think there’s a decent chance I’ll survive that one. So after a few online searches and few scrolls of Twitter I found something a bit more dramatic. This August I’m taking part in CoppaFeel!’s Fabulous Challenge, a 4-day 58km trek across lava fields, rivers and glacial landscapes in Iceland. This is something I’ve never, ever done, something that will require physical and mental strength, and apparently a decent amount of determination. If you know me at all you’ll know that I’m not a camper – I’m rarely seen without a signature eyeliner flick and I get pretty tetchy when I can’t straighten my hair in the morning. So 4 days of camping and trekking is a Big Deal. It’s all for a really good cause though, I’m going to raise money for the breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel! whilst I’m going through this ridiculous challenge. CoppaFeel! is a brilliant charity aiming to educate and encourage people (women and men!) to check their boobs, they talk about boobs a lot, they dress up as boobs, they run silent discos in the name of boobs, and most importantly they are attempting to increase the likelihood of people finding their cancer sooner. These guys save lives on a daily basis and they need to keep the cash coming to continue this mission.
Time for a cheeky plug – if you’d like to donate, and I’d be so very grateful if you did, please follow this link: icelandcoppafeel.everydayhero.com/uk/heidi.