Boredom and a Ph.D.

While I’ve always assumed that a doctoral degree is supposed to be somewhere near the pinnacle of intellectual engagement… it turns out that actually writing a lit review is mind numbingly boring, at least the way I’m doing it. It’s very hard to stay focused (this post is evidence of that), and I find it hard to stay motivated by anything other than the thought that “I’m going to be Dr. Wagner.” That, and I want to actually conduct my own study already!

Unfortunately, I’m almost certainly reading and writing more than I have to… and yet still not covering everything I need to – or feel like I should – and still not writing as well as I should – or would like to.

Thankfully, comments like this are motivating, too… so the blog remains more motivating and stimulating than writing a dissertation, even when it’s the same material. :)

8 Responses to “Boredom and a Ph.D.”

  1. Laura Says:

    Been there–and done. I didn’t cover nearly enough ground. Every time I think about my dissertation, I recognize the gaping holes. Once it’s fully and completely behind me (July 3!), I think I can dig into something else.

  2. Glenn Says:

    I’m following along. Keep plugging away. I look forward to joining you in my pursuit of a PhD this fall. I enjoy your references to other blogs as well…I’m getting a kick out of the “Lights, Camera, Action” series you mentioned in an earlier blog.

  3. Patrick Says:

    So what would Gee say about the “Make Love, Not Warcraft” Episode on Southpark? (,_Not_Warcraft)

    Just kidding- just trying to help you cover all your research and overcome the boredom. :-) That episode was an excellent spoof on MMORPG’s.

    OK- besides Oregon Trail and Civilization- anyone remember M.U.L.E. from the early 80’s? That was a terrific game where people learned about economics, survival, teamwork, and competition…

    Any other classic teamwork/educational games?

  4. Paul Says:

    Patrick, I remember M.U.L.E. and it’s balancing of resources. Definitely learning going on there.

    Mark, keep up the good work. I’m reading along with each post. I felt burned out after back-to-back Master degrees. And that doesn’t even compare to what your going through. Hang in there.


  5. Mark Wagner Says:


    I’m just catching up on blog comments and wanted to say thanks… it was great to have a little sympathy and motivation during a tough period. Now I’m really on track (cutting back on work helped) and I’m nearly done with chapter two.

  6. Mark Wagner Says:


    Thanks for your encouragement… that really helped in a tight spot. I hope I can return the favor someday… and congratulations on starting on your PhD this fall. Where are you going to school?

  7. Mark Wagner Says:

    This comment was well timed, too. Thanks again. And actually, I didn’t remember M.U.L.E. – but I visited the wikipedia to fill in the gaps in my cultural literacy:

  8. Mark Wagner Says:

    I wanted to thank you for your encouragement, too, Paul. It’s great to hear that there’s people out there reading what I’m posting. As I always say, the blog is much more motivating than sending my work off to my advisor and waiting ten days for a grade… and maybe some comments.