Two days ago a year ago I started my PhD. I re-enrolled and I am officially a 2nd year. As with most things in the PhD in my experience, the transition is a fluid one. I mostly see it by new students starting and me taking on new responsibilities like teaching. But there is no clear cut. Looking back, my project has changed immensly. After doing research, in conversation with others what I looked at has evolved and changed. The area I look into has changed. The methods I chose are more refined than I originally thought. But nonetheless I see a red thread running through the whole process. There was an unease with the way people living with dementia are treated in the technology development process that fueled my initial idea which is still guiding what I do now. I have only changed what I want to do about it, playing more towards my strengths than I originally intended.
After my viva I felt a bit stranded. I have been working quite intensly towards this deadline and felt lost after it was over. I took some time to read interesting papers that had piled up on my desktop, getting inspiration and looking deeper into things that still need refinement. But in contrast to earlier times I have been able to communicate this and ask for help with structuring the time to come. I have a very broad plan now on how to proceed and will fill that with life as I go along.
I am still paddling along, caught between times in which everything makes full sense and those in which I have no idea what I am doing – or supposed to do. But I start to accept this as how it is going to be, deciding on what I know when I feel confident to do so and asking for help when I struggle. I feel like a fish in water, sometimes letting the current take over, sometimes taking full control. This is one important thing I have learned in this last year.