More than a month ago, I officially started embarking on my doctoral journey. It was a major decision – abandoning my TV job back home and focusing on academic rather than creative work. I am fortunate to receive a doctoral scholarship at The University of Auckland, providing me the means to study full time for the next three years.
I have met a couple of senior PhD students on the same journey. And my question when having the chance to converse with them remained consistent: what’s the key to finishing the thesis on time? Some people say I need to keep myself motivated all throughout while others say I should continue writing despite the temptation to stay lax during the lean years. I take both opinions seriously. PhD is solitary. You manage your own time and you take full responsibility of your progress. It entails maturity, diligence and independence – often easier said than done.
But to keep my momentum and maintain my creative soul intact while writing the thesis, I decided to shift from a traditional PhD to a PhD with creative component. In the next couple of months, after completing the rigorous process of getting ethics approval, I will produce a transmedia documentary as part of my written thesis. This pathway acknowledges the fact that the creation of knowledge is not merely achieved through writing a long text but also through creative means. For other people, the creative practice option entails more work, which may be true. But the PhD is a mental turmoil and apart from writing continuously throughout my studies, I feel that all I really need is a creative outlet to survive this long journey.