(PhD) Life Wisdom learned from Bouldering. Part II

Hey there, guys! It’s time for part II of our PhD/Life Wisdom series concerning wisdom learned from bouldering. In Part I, Sarah told you about the following points we learn from climbing walls:

1. You don’t have to take bad holds.
2. There is more than one possible path.
3. You don’t need to reach the top the way the others did.
4. Sometimes it’s a leap of faith.

So, today I will you provide with some more insights I gained from my climbing during my hard PhD phase until now.

5. You have to try it again and again.
Academia is some sort of weird game with sometimes strange rules and very often combined with the well-known imposter syndrome. I failed a lot the last three years of my working life at Academia. And I was angry with myself a lot, I could not help it. At the climbing wall Ia can get very upset, too, if failing at finishing some routes I know I should be able to finish. But you have to try again. Maybe not the same day or immediately after falling down again and again. I need time to think, time to unplug me from stressful situations. But I will come back and try again. One day, I will be successful. If one asks me what makes me a good archaeologist, I guess that’s the answer. I am stubborn and I am curious. I will definitely get back to my work and try again. It’s hard work, but I know that there are important things to learn in the process of finishing tasks. Academia is just a job like any other job out there. You have to try.

In climbing you have to study certain routes again and again, you try different approaches. Until you find out what is working.

6. Keep moving!
Okay, always remember when climbing – first, do a warm-up! Really, be nice to your body. Be nice to your hands, your fingers, your feet. With proper warmed muscles you can do efficient climbing manoevres withour injuring yourself. And you have to stay warm during your exercise. If one route would not work out, I would try another one. I would try the other one again, but I would never linger in front of them and getting completely frustrated. You see, this point evolves out of nr. 5.

In academia, you have to do a warm-up, too. When climbing a new route, you will check it out first. You will search all the grips and think of possible ways to climb. This is basically the same like planning your days, weeks and moths ahead. I wrote about this on my first post of my selfcare-series. You should plan your selfcare time as well as your working time. During my writing, I got very often distracted by various things – but I stuck to my plan. I kept moving on and on. I dealt with my problems after finishing my daily tasks. So, I kept my brain on working temperature like my muscles. So, even after a very strange and devastating day at work I got home with an over and done To-Do list and with the chance of being proud of myself for sticking to my plan.

7. Cool down. Always.
After physical exercise you have to do a good cool down. Climbing walls affects certain parts of your muscles, like academic writing requires a lot from your brain. So, after you are done with your daily exercise/workload, be good to yourself. A very good way of cooling down is yoga – actually, it helps after physical exercising and after a long day of work at the office.

So, I hope you enjoyed this little post. Stay fierce, fighters of academia. And be good to yourself.

All the best,

Astrid 🙂


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