morsla: (lain)
It's 2012. Actually, it's now well into 2012, but I've spent such a languid week that the realisation of arriving in a new year has taken a few days to make it from my synapses to my typing fingers, so I'm only just getting around to writing about it.

This is generally the time when I look back on the last year, decide that it would be a good idea to look forwards at some stage, and then the year starts up in earnest - and the forward planning never happens. At least, that's the way that things have gone in most of the last ten years, now that I can check up on that kind of thing.

It's time for a change of pace, though. I've been in much the same place in my life for a few years now: an odd kind of limbo, filled with enough to keep me happily distracted, but without any tangible sense of progress to anything. I could stay here forever without really doing anything, and that should be warning enough. It's time to start packing up and moving on.

Some things are good. I live in a great part of the city, surrounded by friends. In 2011 I travelled overseas and met people who are doing some fascinating work. I remembered how much I love cooking for friends, and how much I dislike being a hermit. There have been two major problems, though.

My PhD has become a huge part of my life, overshadowing everything else. That's understandable - if it didn't, I don't see how I could still do it. It's now been almost three years though, and it's time to get it finished. That will involve a lot of work over the next seven months. Some of that work involves writing the thesis, but I think the harder job will be breaking bad habits that I've taken ten years to refine: getting used to writing more, spending less time chasing up details, and letting other people read my work. That last one is particularly hard, but will be vital.

The other bugbear I've fought over the years is my health, which has caused problems since I began this journal. Two years ago I was very unfit and unhappy about it. In 2010 I joined a local gym, but it never really became part of a routine. It did get my confidence up though, and helped me return to Kung Fu in January 2011. I've been training ever since, and feel like I've returned home again.

Injuries, health problems and excuses have been disrupting my training for eight years. Last year, I beat the bastards, and got back to doing something that I love.

My PhD has only had three years to build up a backlog of jobs that need to be done by July. It's one hell of a pile of work, but it's time to finish it - I want to find out what comes next.
morsla: (Dawn1)
On Saturday September 12th, I'm getting older. Significantly more than just one day older - it will be the start of a new decade, as I'm turning 30. To help me celebrate making it this far, I would love some company for lunch - after all, good food and good company are what the world is all about, right?

[ profile] aeliel and I will be in the Flagstaff Gardens from 1pm onwards. Bring yourself, some food or drink to share, and a picnic blanket if you have one. The Queen Vic Markets are just across the road, and it's close to trains and trams. It's also a pretty kid-friendly area - something that's become necessary when planning these things over the last year or so :)

There's a PDF map of the gardens here (how old fashioned!), or via Google Maps here. We're planning to be in the Northwest corner, though we may send a couple of people over to the BBQ area if anyone wants to cook something for lunch.

Please let me know if you can make it - either by leaving a comment here, or via email. (Edit: or Facebook...)

(Rainy day plans may involve a lot of swearing; some form of sacrifice to the rain gods, and a dash for shelter wherever we can find it...)
morsla: (Default)
Today I recieved a flyer and application form for the Smart Services CRC PhD scholarships.

The two documents do part of their job well: saying "so, how sure are you that this is a good idea?" In terms of project or PhD information, they aren't so great. The CRC is quite new, broad in focus, and all the project information is much like you can see on the website above: nebulous statements about eleven research areas. All of them sound fascinating, but there's precious little information on exactly what is being done, and which locations (VIC, NSW, QLD) are doing each part.

Given the nature of the research, it seems only fair to look for some other ideas and perspectives via this journal... I'm particularly interested in hearing from those of you who are doing, have done, or have lived with people doing PhDs, but any and all feedback is welcomed.

Edit: to clarify, I have had a chat with two potential supervisors already. I'm mainly trying to work out exactly what it is that I want to do, and whether a PhD is the best way of doing it.

What do I want to do?
Narrowing things down from "everything at once," I'm looking a buying and selling online - from a small business perspective. I want to look at how businesses are using the internet to interact with customers and suppliers, and how their customers are using it to find and purchase things. I'm particularly interested in how niche-market operators can access national or international markets, to create businesses that could not sustainably exist on a local level.

Application criteria

Lets look at my doubts first. I don't have an H1 honours degree - I missed out by one mark. That's the first criteria in the application form. Also, my honours degree isn't directly related to the PhD.

On the plus side, I have a broad background that should help in a multidisciplinary area of study. I have a BSc (Chemistry and Geology, Geochemistry honours), and a Grad Dip in Professional Communications. I also have an unfinished BA, including a full major in History and Philosophy of Science, and a scattering of Media and Communication subjects. I'm good at observing what people do, and fiinding out how and why they do it. I'm comfortable working in highly technical environments and translating jargon and concepts into plain english.

I run a small online business, and know many others in the first few years of establishing their own. The promotion of niche-market small businesses, the use of online banking and other payment methods, and the use of forums and other community tools are all vital to what I do.

Demonstrating knowledge of the current academic literature:
Another stumbling block at present. Beyond reading FirstMonday I haven't really followed the literature so far - the last few years have been entirely focused on actively working on the business from a practical perspective. If anyone can recommend some reading material I'd love to hear it - leave a comment here, or send bookmarks to my account.

As [ profile] aeliel will testify, I have a brain like a sponge, and a tendency to obsessively consume new areas of interest. I can do a lot of reading between now and next year, but I'm unlikely to read as widely as I would like before the application is due.

I'll add more to this post later (must get back to work!) but I'd love to have people question my sanity and point out obvious stumbling blocks I should be aware of... the more questions I have to ask myself, the more likely I am to work out whether this is a good idea or not.

September 2014

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