My point of view on things, situations, people etc. is very personal and usually implicit. I am not always aware of my perspective on things, even though I try to reflect more – also because interpretative/qualitative researchers need to in their research.
However, developing the awareness of my perspective is not always easy, especially if it is entangled with some features of imposter syndrome. I’ve always tried to see the good and the positive in a situation that might be negative at first sight, and I think that I am relatively good at it- EXCEPT when it comes to my academic career and my PhD.
To give some context: I am part of several projects and I am supposed to “lead” an article (whatever the hell that might entail) and to present at two conferences soonish. I haven’t had focused supervision in months and I can tell you I have been PANICKING about this regularly. My perspective on this has been, that I have not made enough progress that my supervisors would want to spend time on my work. Well, I CHOSE to see it in that way.
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Today I am going to talk about something personal again. Last year I’ve been diagnosed with Visual Snow Syndrome (VSS) and I wanted to share my experiences.
First of all, what is VSS?
“Visual snow (VS) is a recently identified neurologic condition consisting of a constant positive visual disturbance described as uncountable tiny dots over the entire visual field. In addition to the static, patients very often report visual symptoms such as palinopsia, entoptic phenomena, photophobia, and nyctalopia”. (Puledda et al., 2020)
How I found out:
In retrospect I cannot pinpoint when exactly I GOT the symptoms of VSS, I might have had them all my life but I all of a sudden noticed them. I think I started to notice the symptoms after a quite stressful period when it became really difficult to read a certain book. Difficult is an understatement, it became impossible. The book used a particularly small, narrow font and basically no line spacing. What I saw was kind of a nervous picture, the lines and letter were kind of wobbling around and there was some sense of erratic movement that I could not pinpoint. In addition to this, things felt as if they were “burnt” into my retina. We all know this when we look at the sun too long and then look at something else, but I had it with everything that was slightly darker and in front of a mono-coloured surface. Moreover, these afterimages did not last 2-3 seconds but 30ish. I also noticed that looking at screens became difficult as if there was always something “in the way” and I tried to blink and squint but it did not help. Also, it was present 24/7, I COULD NEVER REST EVEN WHEN I CLOSED MY EYES!!
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I’ve talked a bit about my background in the last post…or got it out of my system 😀 I mean there is a reason why some people claim that journaling helps so, let’s see about that J Moving on to my reflections on my first year as a PhD, which basically consisted of exclusively negative EVERYTHING!
However, let me start from the beginning:
Well, the first warning sign should have been how I reacted to getting a PhD position. I do not know why, it had been the goal I have been working towards for a long time, but when I got the news it was a very short-lived “Yayy!”, but it felt more as if it was more of a “ticking the box” moment of achieving something, that anything else. Like, ok did that, what is next now? I do not want to sound ungrateful here. Believe me, I know what incredible achievement it is, or at least I know how I should feel about it but I kind of keep this…hidden? A bit as if I think, meh, anyone could have done it. It is not REALLY an achievement. You HAVE to do MORE! PUSH yourself…
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Alright, I planned to start a blog a year ago…when I actually started my PhD, but it took my nearly one year to create one. Nevertheless, I want to talk about my experiences and feelings about different stages during my PhD so far. It might help others to see that they are not alone but is also thought to help me reflect on my path during this experience.
First off; how I experience my PhD highly depends on my background and the context I am in. I have recently listened to an interesting podcast about identity which raised many questions and also got me thinking. Let’s get started!
Last week marked 1 ½ year into my PhD, and I thought I would write a bit about my experiences during the first year, specifically about the start of my PhD. I know, kind of late, but yeah…time flies right? So, this is more of a personal blogpost…maybe also for me to read in a couple of years to see and reflect on what has happened since then. Well, I hope things have happened, especially with me feeling like an imposter (SPOILER!).
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