Friday, 19 October 2012

Back to work

I just spent 2 wonderful weeks in Scotland, enjoying the lovely autumn sunshine for the first ten days of my trip - then my brothers came over for a few days, and brought the rain with them. Two weeks is one of the longest trips I've ever done - it's usually a week or less - and somehow it seemed to be enough to get a sense of living there again. The official reason for my trip was to do interviews for my thesis, but I also managed to fit it several friends, a little bit of tourism, several lovely meals out, and lots of shopping.

Alas, all good things must come to an end eventually, and last Sunday the time came for me to return home. Which, to be honest, wasn't all bad - it is quite tiring to stay in 6 different places during 2 weeks, and besides, it was all sunny and pretty when I got home. But now the holiday (and I do call it a holiday, because those interviews were far from hard work) is over, and it's time to roll up my sleeves and get on with it. Starting with my least favourite bit of this entire process - the transcriptions.

I used to work part time as a transcriber, which I guess I should be grateful for now, since it really helps that I know what I'm doing, and have a reasonably good piece of software to do it with, but it also means I know exactly how boring transcribing is, so I really wasn't looking forward to it. But it has to be done, so I got started on it a couple of days ago, and to be honest, it's been ok. I just finished transcribing my second interview, and I have 8 to go - all shorter than the first two, luckily. So maybe it'll be ok. I can also tell you that it is a great deal more interesting to transcribe interviews on a topic that I'm interested in (even if I'm hearing it all for the second time) as opposed to discussions about engines and such, which is what I had to do when I did this for work. So, it's not all bad.

When I was about to set out on this journey called My Master's Thesis, I read quite a lot of guides on how to do it, and several apps and pieces of software to help out with the process have been suggested on various forums. So far, I've tried out the Pomodoro Technique (or the basic elements of it, at least, not the full program) and it's been working quite well. When I move on to the final stage, when I'm mainly just writing, I may also start using Written? Kitten! which sounds quite fun, and if worst comes to worst, I'm prepared to start using Write or Die. But let's hope it doesn't come to that. But the Pomodoro Technique is good in the sense that it lets you give yourself little rewards (in forms of breaks or whatever you choose to fill those breaks with) every 25 minutes, and it also records your process, so that it is easy to keep track of how many "tomatoes" you've done each day. Which feels pretty good. On Wednesday this week I did 5 "tomatoes", then yesterday 7, and I'm trying to keep that a minimum for a "full" working day. I now actually have 1½ weeks off (our so called "exam week", which is actually more of a week off, since we rarely have any exams, and when we do, they are often on the week before anyway. But we're not allowed to call it a holiday, apparently), so hopefully I should be able to get ahead quite well.

In other news, one of my best friends just had a baby today, and I'm so excited!!! Can't wait till I get to see him! :)

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