The value of talking to people engaged in the same activity is enormous. Not only do they understand the issues you face, but it's possible to discuss things without fear. I have found that if there's one way to stop most conversations, it's to tell acquaintances that you are studying for a PhD...
So, today I had a meeting and chat with Georgina and James, and we swapped a few notes on our research journeys so far. We discovered that we share some confusion over the forms we've encountered so far, and that uncertainty over where we are in the whole studying process seems par for the course.
It might appear that they are more at home with certain aspects of research and intellectual approach, but I have a little more experience of conferences, lecturing, and student mentoring. It will be good to be able to offer guidance and support to one another as we move ahead in the coming months.
As George and I had both been to the library, it was interesting to discover we have opposite approaches here. G prefers a huge pile to tackle, moving books from the 'unread' to the 'completed' stack. By contrast, I am daunted by a huge pile, preferring to tackle a few at a time, returning them to the library before attempting a fresh lot.
But one thing we are all certain of...no-one has enough room for all the books they need!