This is an odd sensation.
I have nothing to do.
(A voice in my head has just spouted: “Oh yes you do! You can vacuum or take the ferrets for a walk or start making dinner or clear up all the elegant ‘floor stacking’ of uni papers currently taking over the front room!”)
It is true, there are plenty of things I *could* do. I am not restrained in an empty room devoid of any stimulation. However, I don’t actually have any university work to do, and as such, nothing that I should feel guilty about not doing. Being a procrastinator is central to my identity, to my very Being almost – if I have nothing to put off doing, do I cease to exist?
Yesterday, after an inordinately long length of time spent preparing for this thing, I finally handed in my full upgrade proposal, complete with questions I received when doing my upgrade seminar a few weeks ago, and more eloquent, written responses to them, and full bibliography, and ethics sheet and risk assessment form. Gah.This then gets looked over by a Panel of The Powers That Be, and then at the end of the month, I get interviewed about it all, and asked to defend it. This is all based on my project proposal – exactly what I want to study, why I want to study it, how I am going to actually do the research, how it is relevant to the rest of the programme, and perhaps more importantly from the university’s point of view, how much is it all going to cost? Hopefully, assuming I haven’t done anything spectacularly stupid (Can I please have £3000 to go watch coffee grow in Nicaragua for four months? Pleeeease?) then they should ‘upgrade’ me from a lowly MPhil student to PhD.
However, until they have upgraded me officially, technically speaking I shouldn’t actually be doing any practical research. Reading things is fine, sorting out preliminary contacts and fieldwork locations is fine. Actually investigating anything specific is not. I went to the Caffe Culture exhibition hall at London’s Olympia last month. I had an excellent time, met a load of useful people, learned so much stuff (even how to roast coffee!) and managed to source a great deal of information which can all be relevant to my project. I wrote up a short report for my supervisors about it all, and they said: “That’s a great piece of not-research!”. Not-research seems to be what we are required to do whilst in this strange limbo situation awaiting our upgrades…. It is frustrating to say the least.
Still, I must make the most of this – I would say ‘this holiday’ but that is too much of an active word – this brief period of unproductivity. I am going to make curry and watch Neighbours.
Ye Gads. Help me.