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The PhD wishlist - 'Compass' 2004

- Julie Levey-Williams, PhD candidate (Sociology)

AS I WRITE UP the final chapters of my doctorate after three years of blood, sweat and tears, I think about all the things I never expected to happen and all the things that did not go to plan.

I wish it had been easier to get my ethics clearance...but I had to pick the area of criminal justice. I wish I had had better luck recruiting for my interviews...but that is what happens to you when you research areas where gatekeeping practices protect government policy.

I wish I had kept that logbook more meticulously, like I said I would, so I wouldn't have kept writing over the second last copy of that wretched file. I wish I had not lost 18 months of notes off EndNote because I had not backed-up my work like I said I would...but...1 guess I should have known about Murphy's Law.

I wish I had developed my computer skills before the doctorate, fixed my speling, not smoked like a chimney, exercised more, slept better or at least once a day and spent less of the APA scholarship money. In fact, I wish the money had not ended and been more like the never-ending box of Tim Tams. I wish I had a money tree in the backyard, a rich lover under the bed, two orgasms a day without fail, a home chef and a better command of French feminist-psychoanalytic postmodern theory...but who does not wish for these.

I wish I hadn't had to worry about building a career at the same time as writing...but "m glad I did...and I wish my brother had not died at 50 during this final year of the thesis. Well, I guess I mean 'anytime'...but I wish I'd known that people would die, friends would go away, marriages would fail and a Beep and a Bop and Boo with no respect for my thesis. I never expected the world to keep turning in such a callous way when I was doing my very important life's work.

I wish the 'greater picture' had become smaller and clearer earlier, the data had fallen into place instantly and all the theory had provided useful meanings. I wish I had found it easier not to preach against injustice and I wish that I had found it possible to 'fight for both sides' for the sake of objectivity. I wish I didn't suspect that all my attempts at advocacy for women in the post-prison environment in Victoria would be swept under the research mat. I wish we could develop our sense of justice to also include thinking about the potential of others less fortunate than ourselves...and I wish I'd learned to speed type.

I wish I hadn't become paranoid over my supervision and I wish I hadn't been so grumpy and rude to the Head...but I wasn't really paranoid...they really were after me...1 think!

I wish I had painted more pictures at night, started writing earlier in the paper and paid more attention to keeping up with the bibliography from start to finish.

I wish, at 50, that my hormones hadn't dropped out between my legs so that my sarcastic male medical practitioner could tell me that he had had more female hormones than I did. I do wish I had kept the office tidier because there are still some articles that I've 'given up' on and I know that they are languishing somewhere in the universe with that other sock from the wash. I wish I didn't have to read the terrible pieces that I wrote at the start of the three years and then cringe with shame...but then, 'I can do real good now' at the end of my paper, so who cares!

I'm glad I picked Gippsland because the atmosphere is so good for postgrad studies and when you are out of money you can eat the leftover sandwiches at the desk. These are the ones with the dry curly bread where once it was very young cheese or very old meat inside. Anyway it was free so it was great! I wished I'd found a good way to thank Community Services and counsellor, Rhondda Curtis, for all she did for me...and I wish we had not lost her to Berwick.

I guess it has not been too bad, may have even been 'good'...doing my 'Big D' with Monash University. Maybe it was quite 'good', at times. Maybe it was outstandingly good when Monash helped me fly to Edinburgh University to present my paper at the Moral Landscape conference. The Distance Ed scholarship was good too...and the Peter Kerr Scholarship could not have come at a better time. Maybe I did work hard at the right times and listen to sound advice, grow and expand my thinking and bite my tongue when I should...well, nearly...

Maybe, I do care about Monash...but I wouldn't let them know. Maybe, I really do believe in research. Perhaps I shall always smell the books and be inspired. Perhaps SAMSS (the School of Applied Media & Social Sciences), Monash Gippsland will care for other doctoral students like it has for me.

Perhaps I'd even recommend Monash University Gippsland campus to others...'*