Lone wolf syndrome is, I suspect, a chronic affliction of higher degree students, but…worse again in the humanities. The humanities is a strange place; it is less regulated and formalised than most other areas of study, and as such it can be a wonderful and liberating place to be.
On the other hand, as all higher degree research students will know, research can be miserable and lonely, and as anyone who chose to do their research in the humanities may understand, sometimes the lack of rigid disciplinary structures and the stretch of possibility is so freeing that you just end up balking at the endless possibilities, curling up in a ball, and doing what feels like exactly fuck-all day after day.
The thing is, structure is important.
This is why deadlines are necessary and good.
I may rail against them, but the fact is I need them.
This is why I deeply envy my girlfriend, who is currently doing a PhD in psychology. She lives in the land of science. There, they were given a book on how to complete their research degree, and are expected to follow it to the letter. Here, in the humanities, there was no book. I recently had to line up the last milestone in my degree for later in the year, and wrote to admin asking if I was correct in thinking that it should be completed three months before the submission on my thesis, which was true as far as different parts of the university website could tell me. I was told that it was just a guideline, and I could set it for whenever I wanted.
This puts the onus on me to get shit done, and I will, but it’s just that little bit more difficult.
There’s definitely something to be said for external accountability.