Contrary to the title of this blog post, changes are not coming, changes are here!
As a student, it is always a worrying time when things change – more so, if they need to change for the bad. Luckily all of the changes in my own PhD are (nearly) good and quite positive ones, and some changes were made by me.
My first change comes in the form of a temporary change of role, and also a change of working location too. You may be aware that the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science advertised internships where PhD students have the opportunity to work elsewhere (e.g. with the Scottish Government, NHS, Skills Development Scotland). The adverts were made public in December 2017, around the tie I was in Finland, and I knew then I really wanted to apply. My funders have always supported internships for students and actually offer some themselves. Some are are offered in conjunction with SDS and the SGSSS so I thought it was perfect that I apply. I decided to apply for two of the schemes in the hope I would be successful in an offer being made. In the end I was made an offer for each scheme, and have decided to choose the one I felt was right for me.
The opportunity to undertake an internship does bring big change as I will be out of my office for 13 weeks (14 really as I have a conference in Sheffield the week before). I will not be there each day to say hello to my colleagues and I will not be attending supervisions in that time. This was quite a daunting thought at first as it scared me a lot to think I would not be there. However, after being in touch with the hosts of my internship at the Scottish Government, I feel more at ease knowing my internship is in great hands (and my supervisors will get a break from me!!). I also have the support of my review PhD review panel and was given some sound advice on this yesterday (i.e. it’s not the worst thing to be away – absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? I will also blog more about my experiences as I progress in my new internship role, and will be able to keep in touch with the folk at the office which is something I find quite nice.
My second change is more permanent and comes in the form of a new addition to my supervisory team. I am now supervised by Dr Laura Muir, an Associate Professor in our School. Laura was brought to the team as an additional supervisor to help me progress through the final 6 months of my write up process, partly due to the absence of one of my supervisors, but partly because I really needed the extra support. Laura’s knowledge and expertise go hand in hand with my research area and I am sure she will be able to add more depth (and opinion!) to my work. For example, Laura has a lot of contact with businesses and a lot of knowledge on how business and research can meet. Laura also has a fair amount of knowledge on some of the more technical side of things such as information systems and user centred research too – which is all good knowledge for me. The addition of Laura to the team also sees a potential new approach. This means that Laura may have some new ideas for my research during these final stages and some good feedback too. We have already experienced this in in the very early days (when writing conference submissions) which has made me consider my own approach further. Laura’s support and help during the next few weeks will be valuable, especially in our very first task to write a paper to a highly competitive conference. I am sure that is something we will be able to succeed in doing and we will go through a process of learning how we work together.
My final change was one I decided made quite a while ago, around February 2017 to be precise. That decision to change saw me get married earlier this year, a big (non-PhD) change for me. However, with this change also brings a change in name and a change in title, something I have been working to change over the last few weeks. I have now been able to update all of my online profiles, social media and email communication to reflect my new name and my new contact details can be seen below:
University profile: https://www.napier.ac.uk/people/lyndsey-middleton
This change has not been without its difficulty as I have already forgotten (on a few occasions) that my surname has changed. This also presented awkwardness during a conference submission when I had to add my new email address to an account as apparently the system would not allow for a submission on behalf of someone else (it clearly has not realised people change their names haha!).
Coincidently my research has actually explored the process of change and how people think/react to change – some people think it is great and some people just hate the thought! Overall I am looking forward to the challenges that the changes bring. I am sure I’ll be a little nervous when I start my internship in April but I know this is something good for me, good for my work and something that will be good for my research too. The change in my surname, however, is something I am still getting used to…