This post could also be called ‘perseverance’. In terms of life, the both are often interchangeable, though their definitions are not. You need to be dedicated to do a PhD, but you need the perseverance to complete it.
But it can apply to any task in which you set out to accomplish, particularly one that has some level of difficulty.
I thought I was dedicated to my PhD. I thought that would be enough. That alone is not enough. You need it, yes, but being dedicated does not mean you don’t wake up some days and go ‘I can’t’ or that you lose incentive. Perseverance is the drive to keep going despite these occurrences. And it took me a while to find it.
It took me 800km across Spain, in fact. Which, in terms of perseverance, was the hardest thing I had ever had to do. And it was all that kept me going. The drive to just keep walking no matter how difficult or hard it was. When that carried me to the end, I knew I had it in me to finish the PhD, no matter how hard it seemed or how many days I thought ‘I can’t’.
I thought I had lost that perseverance, somewhere in the last year. Life hasn’t been particularly difficult, though I have not – I feel – lost my dedication to my craft. But I have not felt that I needed to persevere at any point. I’ve been content to be patient. And so, like any habit you don’t use very often, you start to wonder if perhaps you can still do it.
I can, apparently. Which is good to know!
Just for a few days, I tried my hand at something I knew would be difficult, but that I was determined to do. I knew determination alone might not be enough, and it wasn’t. I had to persevere despite being tired, despite pain, despite it being hard. I had to overcome that in order to do it. And I did. These small reminders of past struggles are no bad thing. They renew your belief in yourself.
So for all of you out there that are struggling. That are determined to do a PhD, but aren’t sure that determination is enough: it probably won’t be. But perseverance will, and you will find that, somehow and in some way. Just keep walking.