Monday, August 18, 2008

Back in Lancaster

I have travelled up from Oxford to Lancaster for a meeting with my doctoral supervisors. I chose to come by train mainly to have some extra reading time. This feels like a luxury when it's supposed to be a staple of this kind of studies. Sometimes it even feels like a guilty pleasure. So I will need to find ways of taming the all-enveloping demands of the Director of Studies role in order to make way for a more organised approach and settle into my topic. I'm constructing my preface, my angle, and also am developing some pilot research protocols (which just means writing down how I will find some human lab rats to experiment on).

The train journey was, in many respects, useful and not unpleasant. Mind you, Virgin trains haven't cracked the seat reservation problem and many people who boarded after me were unable to get seats, despite having reservations, because others (also with reservations) had sat in their places because they in turn had found other already in their place when they boarded. Just the kind of complex knock-on problem that management schools love to say they equip you to deal with.

However, I am beginning to suspect that most business schools don't do this because, at least in part. they have lost common-sense in how people learn, and how they learn how to learn (as well as learn how to unlearn).

So, I'm taking the rest of today and most of tomorrow to sit in front of my keyboard and begin telling a story. But before I do that (PhD I think stands for Procrastinate, Hinder, Distract) , a personal thought did strike me on the train. I was reading about the Ancestor Syndrome and hidden links across generations in families that allow patterns to occur and re-occur, subside and repeat. A paragraph spoke of 'school failure among intelligent children' and I suddenly remembered that my father never completed his formal training to be an architect (he studied under Frank Lloyd Wright, but never graduated). I, too, failed to complete my formal education, leaving college at 17. Perhaps it's nothing. I'd be curious to know whether my father's father had a similar story, though.

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