In very exciting news, last week I was officially offered a scholarship to start a PhD in Sociology at the Australian National University (ANU) next year. I will be starting in around February or March.
A PhD is something that has been in the back of my mind for a while now. It has been a niggling thought, something I thought I may do eventually, sometime down the track. I think now seems like the right time and I’m excited about the opportunity.
For me the opportunity of PhD offered me some really valuable things.
I love my work as a writer and really enjoy what I do. However, working freelance has some major downfalls. For me, most importantly, I’ve struggled both with a lack of a community, and with a lack of stability. My work is very isolated, which at times makes motivation and intellectual stimulation difficult, and can often sew the seeds of self doubt in my mind. This I think often plays directly into my anxiety.
A PhD I think will help change some of this. I’m really excited about the opportunity to be working on a campus and with a community once again. I’ll be able to bounce ideas off others, and have an office I can go to every day. Even just the idea of having colleagues close by excites me a lot. Most importantly this community will be stable for at least three years, which, when I think about it, is longer than any job I’ve ever had.
I still intend to continue my writing. I’ll be keeping up my column with SBS Sexuality, will be blogging and podcasting, and will keep chugging away at my books. While obviously a PhD will be a lot of work, I do not intend for it to detract from all of that. In fact my hope is that it will enhance it — it will give me the opportunity to formalise research I’ve been working on for years. In many ways I feel like I’ve been living a bit of a PhD life for years now (I may regret saying this down the track), but this will just formalise it with more structure and more community. Obviously it will be different as I will have things like deadlines, which for my big projects at least at the moment are non-existent. But I think that will be good for me as a motivator.
So that is where I’m headed next year! I will be keeping up the writing life, just in a different kind of way. I am really excited about it!