Tag Archives: journalling

Coping with Pregnancy Hormones as a PostGradMama

A brain dump on my current #postgradpregnancywoes

Contrary to my initial thoughts and feelings: growing a thesis and a baby IS hard. Harder than I thought it would be. Today I hit 21 weeks down and 19 to go with my pregnancy, and my postgrad/mama life balance isn’t getting any easier.

I am tired.
I am teary.
I am irritable.
I am subject to constant mood swings.
I am suffering from ‘baby brain.’
I am having trouble prioritising my life.
I am lacking in academic self-confidence.

And this lack of self-confidence means my academic productivity has slipped. Greatly. I have been avoiding my LitReview like the plague. But considering a) I want it done before Smeagol arrives and b) it won’t do itself, I need to somehow get myself out of this  rut and get my LitReview mojo back on track.

My goal is to read 2-5 articles every day (including weekends) with the average goal being to read 3 articles every day. Part of the reading includes transferring my notes to my LitReview notes document (I take notes as I read in Mendeley, but am starting to arrange them into something somewhat somehow someday structured in Word).

My other daily goal is to take time out to remember ‘Hey, I am pregnant’ and to stop stressing over the little things. The most important things are my well-being, the well-being of my little one and my husband (and my furbabies), and then worrying about academics.

Sometimes I feel like I need a similar wall mural to this infamous one by Homer Simpson:

Other PostGrad/Mamas:-
How do/did you cope with the postgrad/mama balance?

Help?!

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My Thesis Journal & Notebook

When I completed my Honours thesis in 2009, my ‘sister-in-law’ advised me to keep a journal as a way of tracking my progress, taking random notes, brainstorming ideas, and so on. I tried this time around (with my Masters thesis) to keep an online journal, but it soon floundered. I found myself constrained by the virtual environment – plus, it was clearly failing at indulging my love of stationery!

My Thesis Journal


Cover (with the starting date for this particular notebook)

After forking out $2 for a composition board notebook* at my local Officeworks (and beginning to feel a little lot like Harriet the Spy) I pre-numbered every page in the book. I also created a grid-style table of contents (which needs updating and rejigging, now I’m a little further on in the process) to keep track of what was where in my journal. I find pre-numbering all of the pages keeps me from tearing out pages that aren’t so ‘perfect,’ thus allowing me to keep a consistent record of my progress, ideas, and notes.


Inside front cover (‘reward’ notice & thesis overview) | Table of Contents

The first pages I have glued in a print-out of my original, online journal

Consistency is also maintained by (trying) not to use white-out in the journal – crossing things out means I can still re-read what was written underneath.

Some things are glued into my journal, including some readings, emails from my supervisor, all of my mind maps, notes from web browsing, etc.:


Some daily notes and print outs from an NGV annual report


Daily notes and supervisor emails


Mindmapping my thesis topic/statement
I find it easier doing this by hand on blank A4 paper


Notes from web browsing (to do with note taking haha)

I keep blank scrap paper at the back of the notebook to scribble quick ideas on (like ‘capture’ pages). I also have an A5 sleeve (page protector) in which I stash random print outs, notes, etc:

Using a notebook/journal as part of the process of creating my Masters thesis allows me a lot of flexibility as to where and when I can fit in some nerd time. When I purchased this notebook, I made sure it would fit in the majority of bags I use which allows me to take it everywhere (including places I can’t easily use my laptop or access the internet).


Writing in my journal at Muffin Break while waiting for Dan to finish work

Resources

Endnotes

* I have never seen composition board books in Australia and have always wanted one. Unfortunately, it looks like Officeworks have sold out in store and you don’t get to choose the design/style on the website.

MA Thesis Journaling 12/06/12

This morning I walked from home to Dan’s work (2.5km, with Charlie the dog) and then sat journaling while I waited for my baker to finish work. Below is an edited version of a half hour of writing, muffin, and Diet Coke.


Follow me on Instagram: @winic_pgm

I went down to the Albury LibraryMuseum during the week to have a look at their exhibition spaces (and, you know, to borrow a nerdy book – which ended up being useless). I managed to time my visit with a group of school kids (and I believe, given their fancy schmnacy  uniforms, they were from a private school). My instant though was “Great. Kids. Totes gonna ruin my nerd times.” and then I mentally had to kick myself for evening thinking such thoughts, given my MA thesis research topic and general interest in museums/galleries (and especially given some recent articles I have read regarding the negative feelings towards youth in galleries). Taking a step back (mentally), I reassessed the situation: were these kids really ‘ruining’ my exhibition experience? Or was it an excellent coincidence? Clearly the gods of museum and art gallery nerdery were shining on me! It was the perfect opportunity to observe, ‘off the cuff’, youth in  a cultural institution:

The exhibition with which these children (and subsequently myself) were engaging with was Frock Stars: inside Australian Fashion Week (Thursday 31 May 2012 to Sunday 24 June 2012, a traveling exhibition from the Powerhouse Museum). Girls and boys were present and actively engaged in the exhibition experience (having more of a ‘hands on’ feel to it, I can see why these kids liked this exhibition more than the ‘traditional’ looking permanent exhibition next door). Teachers and a museum staff member were on hand, presenting hands-on fashion-related activities for the class group to complete (remembering that this group were probably in year 9, so about 14 years old), including, from what I could surmise, the age-old ‘dress someone in a plastic garbage bag’ game, and designing outfits on dolls. It was (nerdily) interesting (for me, not so much the kids) to see the ALM staff-role in this setting, and I intend to follow up on their educational/children’s programming.

The exhibition lent itself to a youth-orientated audience: the theme of fashion, in conjunction with the innovative exhibition design elements (eg. backstage and fashion studio areas were simulated and given an interactive feel), is easily aimed at youth who (presumably) hold a greater interest in the fashion industry that most adults.

But I wonder why this exhibition was brought to Albury. Does Abury LibraryMuseum ordinarily have a lot of traveling exhibitions from the Powerhouse Museum? What is the appeal of the Australian Fashion Week to the general Albury public (given that you must walk through this temporary exhibition to reach the permanent exhibition)? Was the exhibition selected purely as a draw card to a new, youthful target audience?