I have now completed my first full year as a PhD student and wow… has it been a learning experience on so many levels. So many highs and lows, ups and downs, wins and losses. Looking back over the year I feel a small sense of pride that I have made it this far and have grown so much.
I also look back at my naïve 12-month younger self and chuckle at her innocence. There was even one point last year where I actually thought ‘what is all the fuss about, this PhD thing is a piece of cake’. At the time I was feeling guilty about not being more stressed about it all. Well, how things have changed over the year.
A few weeks ago I was feeling particularly stressed about a specific research related incident. Generally a calm and level headed person, I didn’t even recognize this feeling of tightness in my chest. A friend recommended an acupuncturist and at the time I was up for anything to help reduce the tension within myself. I walked into my appointment all fired up and angry about a very confrontational conversation I just encountered and all these awesome ‘comebacks’ were racing through my head. Never having had acupuncture before, I didn’t know what to expect. Let me tell you, it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced. An hour after walking into my appointment, I walked out feeling light, happy and with no negative thoughts in my head. I am now a huge believer in the power of needles 🙂
The acupuncturist easily sensed my stress and gave me some guided mediations to try calming my body. I had tried mediation before but found my daydreaming tendencies were too strong to allow for a clear my mind. I hadn’t heard of guided mediation before but I found it worked so well for me. Being guided through a snowy forest is a magical experience for my body, mind and spirit. These guided mediations have worked wonders on calming my mind and helping me get a good night sleep.
While this year has taught me loads about research methodology and concepts, it has also taught me important life lessons. I have learnt how to ‘manage’ people so that it makes my life easier. I have learnt how to stand up for myself and voice my opinions. I have learnt I am disciplined. I have learnt I have tenacity and I have learnt how to be kind to myself. Being resilient doesn’t mean you won’t feel stressed at times or your feelings won’t get hurt, it means that you recognize and acknowledge these feelings and take action to address them in the best way you can. That is my story and I’m sticking to it 🙂