Wednesday, June 9, 2010

PGARC, I love you.

There are two spaces devoted to Arts + Humanities post-grad students at my university. (Don't be worried that the Law or Engineering post-grad students are getting left out, they get individual offices- phew!) These hallowed spaces (both called PGARC) are a recent discovery of mine. 

I had fooled myself into thinking that working from home would do wonders for my productivity. The mental argument went something like this "but all I'm going to do today is read! And if I go to uni I won't be near my kettle nor my couch, nor in my house, barefoot, relaxed, and wearing the same dealbreakers for the fourth day in a row!" What I didn't factor in was that also within tantalising reach are: my bookcases heaving with excellent but strictly non-study related books (I'm looking at you, 'Just Kids' by Patti Smith), the ever-tempting, rarely-satisfying time vacuum that is Facebook (it lurks on my toolbar, beside all of my favey-dave style blogs. And if the pictures are taking too long to load because I have downloaded too much content his month- well. . . my fingers tend to stray, all I'm sayin'), and the pantry full of flour and sugar and almonds and chocolate just begging to be baked together.

So. It's time to get (more) serious. I made the big decision last week to resign from a job I have loved doing to focus more time and energy on this little (BIG) project. And I paid Security Services a visit so am now a card-carrying advocate of PGARC Woolley (more free desks than Fisher!) 

O how I could sing the praises of free printing and wide-tabled cubicles fitted with flatscreen Macs and WiFi. I could rhapsodise on the delicately musty scent of old carpet housed within old stone walls. Even better, PGARC knows when to give me the encouragement I need to wade through the reams of database-delivered articles before me: having felt a bit blue lately as transitional times sometimes lead me to be, I noticed this quote on a postcard that some other enterprising student had tacked onto the wall: 

Have the courage to be imperfect.

I'm not usually one for generic platitudes but this was what I needed to read. No more stymying nervousness (o no! 'stymie'/ 'to be stymied' = yes. But 'stymieing'? 'Styming'? Does such a form of this word exist? I feel like this is knowledge that should already be in my brain!) about doing writing: I will write and even if it's not great first go, it will be a start. Something I can wrap my hands around and coax and tease into balanced, beautiful prose.

I'm hungry to sit at my desk in a fever of typing, feeling that furious thrill of nailing my point exactly. I can't wait to reach out for the words I need and find them at my fingertips, ready to be woven in to my argument. A step away from extra concerns (money? pish! I'll live on philosophies... or something. . . or an APA. Touché.) and a step into a cloistered attic will do wonders for one's motivation. And I can only thank that anonymous soul who, perhaps in a similar welter of anxiety, tacked that postcard up. Whoever you are, may your chapters be well-arranged and your argument free-flowing. May your thesis be finished six months before your deadline and may Sydney Uni stuff up and give you an extra fortnight's cash in your next APA packet. We can only hope.


  1. A wonderful experience! =) I've been quietly subscribed to your blog for some time now (ever since Mel Gregg sung it's praises), and this particular entry on the theme has encouraged me to emerge from the shade. From one post-grad to another, all the best with your doctorate!

  2. O thanks Brady! That's so lovely of you:) What's yours on? xx

  3. I've been hooked on both your blogs since reading about them on Mel Gregg's blog...hi!
    Been loving your posts & this one in particular, can so relate.

  4. Youth identity and belonging on social network sites. You can see more on my blogger page. All the best Rosie!

  5. Hi Rosie! It's Katie from ATP. I'm in the same boat as Brady-- a quiet reader for a while... How exciting to see your work in print! You're making such strides- I'm envious! :) I hope all is well for you. Have you enjoyed Stylish Wanderer? x, Katie

  6. Hey Katie! I sure have, thanks heaps for recommending it to me. I see what you mean about her youth/ the privacy negotiation with her mum! How's your work going? I've noticed that 'Eclipse' is almost upon us, ack. (Really don't be envious though- one of my best girlfriends is a fashion journalist with aforementioned mags;) totally nepotistic.)

    Thanks Mel! When you say "both" my blogs... I'm a little nervous you have been reading one of the old, old, old ones that I look back and cringe over! Uh-oh...

    And Brady- will definitely have to pick your brain, if that's all right?! Who have you been reading? (amongst all the marking escapades with the Avenger, 'course!)

  7. Yes do, Rosie! I started reading some of the big sociology names for my identity-studies angle (Goffman, Giddens, Baumen, Butler..) and I'm also plugging into the whole subculture/post-subculture debate (Andy Bennett is my supervisor, Paul Hodkinson, David Muggleton, Dick Hebdige) and of course some more internet-related types (Rheingold, Turkle and more recently danah boyd, Nicole Ellison, Ben Light, Erika Pearson, etc. etc.)! I've found 'structures of participation in digital culture' quite a helpful edited collection of late, I think it's available online for free. Edited by Joe Karaganis. I'm loving it all!