In your final burst to get to submission, or in your prep for the viva, it’s likely you’ll get tired.
Or you’ll get stuck.
Or you’ll not know what to do.
Or you will know what to do, but you just won’t want to.
Hitting a wall is hard, because it’s often painful. It can come with shame as well. Compared to some PhD stories I’ve heard, I know that I had quite a charmed PhD; nothing too bad happened. I was able to plot and plan my last six months and work to it and that helped. But I still hit the wall a few times on the run-up to my submission. I felt like I should be better, that I shouldn’t be making mistakes.
A lovely and well-intentioned friend in my office told me, Whatever it is Nathan, just get over it.
They were lovely and well-intentioned, but just get over it is, I think, very rarely the answer.
The answer always has to be quite specific, because the question isn’t simply “What do I do?” but “What do I do with this very particular situation of work and feelings and physical circumstances that has lead me to this wall?”
It could be that you’re tired from reading, or can’t make a connection, or you’re fed up with your PhD, or you’re concerned about something you’ve found – and these are the simple descriptions. The answer is going to be specific; you’ll have to find it probably.
The answer could start with:
- Asking for practical help;
- Taking a break;
- Thinking about other situations you’ve overcome;
- Remembering that you are awesome;
- Walking away for a while to get perspective.
These are general solutions; they don’t fit every wall. You won’t just get over it, but there are lots of first steps you could take.