Rediscovering my dissertation...

Now that I'm "getting my hands dirty" I've rediscovered the enthusiasm for my dissertation that I feel generally wanes if you're in fellowship application hell...yup I realize that I've given in to the cliche that seems to suggest that field research is somehow more real - if that means empirical then yes, in a manner of speaking.

I'm currently traveling in South Asia finishing up my interviews for my dissertation. After being holed up in front of my desk for months on end between chapters (of which only 1 was completed before I left - oh well can't win them all!) and fellowship applications this seems like the perfect reward.

The self-doubts and anxiety about my dissertation - whether it's interesting enough, unique enough, and all those other thoughts that plague us PhDers - have been alleviated since perfect strangers who are participating in my study have been showering praise very generously.

So, out of the abyss of applications, this Ph.D. is back to being fun after all. And for any readers who might be struggling with the Ph.D. process I say forget it all and go do some interviews or have some informal conversations with your chair or anyone else who will talk to you both inside and outside academia - in my experience, these are the best ways to reconnect with old ideas and get inspired by new challenges.