The past few weeks have been very busy. I have taken some time off and then have ploughed straight into training and data collection, which means I have not had a lot of free time to blog!
I returned form leave and attended the Edinburgh Local Grad School training. This aimed to help students develop transferable skills in the PhD where opportunities to do so are often lacking. We did a lot of activities that focused on communication, problem solving and also developing Communities of Practice within the Scotland-based PhD community. I felt the training was well delivered and I enjoyed most tasks, developing skills along the way. I particularly enjoyed our ice-breaker where our group had to design a widget and present this to the rest of the PhD students and tutors – Labrodrone was quite an idea!
My second lot of training was the week after that and was the SGSSS summer school. I attended this it is the ESRC that fund my research and the ESRC work with PhD students and staff to deliver training relevant to all students. My favourite two sessions of the day were: (1) cracking the conference and (2) doctoral skills as these are the two most relevant to me and my work right now. This is because I am currently preparing my presentation for my paper submitted to the i3 conference in Aberdeen. It means I am in the process of writing and preparing the first paper presentation of my PhD and it is something I am quite nervous about.
My other favourite session was the doctoral skills as this focused on concerns of a ‘second year’. This is because students are often too far in to see their progress (and wrongly measure progress on amount of work done!) but they also cannot see the finish line in sight. AS I am 14 months in, this session was perfect me as I am just over half way there to the finish line. My favourite activity was the first one we did in class. We had to map our PhD journey as it was a mountainous climb (often lonely but such an achievement in the end) and as you can see form my picture, mine was a little rough. My journey started quite well doing literature reviews and being supported by my supervisors (you can see they are there in the picture). But the problems came with the RD5 prgression and when progress needed to be made on my secondary data analysis – something which took a long time to do!
You see, I placed myself nearly at the top of my second little mountain, but not quite at the top just yet. This is because I am just in the process of gathering data for my first case study and this has not been an easy trick. Firstly, I have has problems with arranging times for interviews and case studies and then problems getting people on board. So the main reasons why I am not at the top yet is due to the time it is taking to get my data collection done and we must not forget that second case study too (the less said about this in the blog post the better!).
There are a lot more details on my PhD journey picture but for now I will leave it up to you to decide what they mean and see if you can work it out.