As usual I have had my January realisation that I haven’t blogged enough in the past few months. Well, here is an update on where I am and what my plans are.
I finished my first year of my PhD (0.5 year really as I am part-time) with a glowing report from my supervisor. I have been assured that progress is being made (some days it really doesn’t feel like it!) and that my writing is going in the right direction. I will come onto my writing later on.
I am feeling a little more academic after each supervision meeting now. Being part-time and living an hour away from my institution is tricky, I feel distanced from the research community there. I also work at a university as part of professional services (I hate that term) but I also don’t feel part of the research community here either. In fact, the academics in my subject here (where I work) know me, and know me as a student and a professional services colleague but not as a researcher is this year’s hurdle. One of my goals is to put forward a proposal for a poster at the Museum Studies Conference in April; this will put me in the middle of the people I know, but in my PhD student capacity. *Daunting!* This is a prime scenario for Imposter Syndrome to kick in.
I have mentioned my writing before. It is still something that I feel I am battling with, but I have found some absolute basics that I write in my notebook next to my scribbles regularly to keep me on track.
– Each paragraph should have an introduction, body and conclusion.
– Each section should have a body, introduction and conclusion.
– Do not use the following terms:
– Research shows that…
– As it can be seen…
– Keep sentences concise.
After a while this became a little more natural.
I also decided to try and take part in the #AcWriMo in November (it is like Nanowrimo) but with self-set goals and academic related. I set myself a goal of 200 words per day. I failed. However I realised I can write a comfortable and good 100 words per day (on average). The key thing I took away from this was the ‘good’ words part. I can scribble down as many words as I like but after a while I repeat myself and get confused about what I am trying to say. Editing brings it back together and evens it out at 100 words average. I don’t think that was too bad. When I am back on writing again I will try and keep up with that as I don’t think it is too much of a reach but will help with progression.
Not a resolution
I don’t really do resolutions. I don’t think it matters what time of year it is if you want to make a change you need to make it. January always highlights shortcomings as others are making resolutions around you and it acts as a spotlight on anything you might do or not do or even need to do. As such I am just going to talk in goals.
My goal in the next few months is to gain confidence in my academic abilities. I met up with a friend before Christmas who began her PhD in September and has been going through some of the same thought processes as I did. It was strange giving advice on those issues, I didn’t feel qualified! The other day I had a lovely message from her about how it had really helped. Maybe it is time to shake myself off and take pride in what I am doing instead of hiding it away like a guilty secret!
So, to gain confidence I am going to (if I put it here it is like committing to it!):
– write a blog post about what I am researching. This is a bit of a stepping stone. I realised that I talk about my PhD on here but haven’t actually said what it is that I am doing, like someone might laugh at it or tell me it is ridiculous if I do.
– put forward my ideas for a poster at the Museum Studies Conference in April.
-Go to more seminars and lectures when I can. There is a wealth of opportunities to get involved here (at work uni) and there (at studying uni) and I need to make more of them.
– Meet up with other students or post-docs that I know in my field. Just for a cuppa and a chat, I have found those reassuring in the past.
Overall, I think I am in a really good place. I have a bunch of opportunities and I just ned to take them. I am sure I can squeeze them in around everything else!
Coming soon… what I am really doing on my PhD!