‘Life in academia is a life of catching up,’ said a professor of blogger Nadya Karimasari, which is why people in academia have to get used to the feeling of being behind.
As a first year PhD candidate, I was often told ‘you still have plenty of time!’ But I am wondering: why has it never been my case?
It seems like PhD work has been intense from the very start. My schedule is comprised of deadline after deadline. I tried hard to work efficiently and meet all the deadlines, but sometimes I just couldn't make it. Having a young child with only two days at day care that sometimes gets sick and needs extra care, and a husband who is also writing his dissertation, made me absolutely aware that I have to be protective of my time. I have to figure out ways to be smart in using my time, but sometimes I am still feeling behind of my schedule.
I am not alone in this. Other PhD candidates told me that we all have to get used to the feeling of being behind. Not only being behind on schedule, but also being behind on the current developments in our academic field.
One of my professors in the Sociology of Development and Change chair group, Rob Fletcher, said ‘life in academia is a life of catching up.’ It instantly makes me feel less alone in this. He said he always has so many things to do. Things will only get done when he makes them into a priority, which means a lot of other things could never be done. ‘I have been working on my next book for years and it's still not done yet.’
Another professor at the University of Amsterdam, Laurens Bakker, told me how much he loves cooking, ‘because cooking has a start and a finish, and we can eat our result at the end of it. While in academia, the work never ends. You thought you’ve finish a paper, but you have to write another paper, and then your previous paper needs revision, you need to do more research, more reading, things completely change, and your work ... it's never finished!’
At this point, I wonder how would life be after deadlines. Maybe it's going to be beautiful, but it could also be boring.