Category Archives: university

Radio silence

My poor neglected blog! Apologies (to my one remaining reader) for radio silence, it’s not that nothing’s been happening, just that work etc has been busy busy busy so nothing interesting is happening 🙂

Work is going well, I’m really enjoying it, but it is very full on (which is good) and I’ve had to do a fair few evening interviews recently. What is good is that I am building enough time in lieu to be able to leave an hour early a few times a week and go to the gym; this and the diet is (generally) going well and I only have another few pounds to go and I’ll have lost a stone from when I was at my heaviest earlier this year. So that’s good.

My two OU courses have started up again, so that’s all extra work, and they have asked me to consider taking on another one, just for one year while the regular tutor has a sabbatical, starting in February 2013. Good points would be: level 3 and public health course would look great on my CV, even if it is only a year; the money would be welcome of course; the course is interesting; and because it runs from Feb-Oct and my other courses are Oct-June it means that I would still have a bit of extra money coming in over the summer (I know I have my job so it’s not like I’m not paid at all for those three months, but I do notice each summer when I don’t get paid for the OU work). Less good points would be: I’m working full-time and doing two OU courses on top of that, and there would be 5 months where this one would overlap with those; I’m knackered and would like to have a bit of a life despite loving what I’m doing. I’m not sure which way I’ll choose yet – but anyway it was nice to be asked, it was a little bit of affirmation which never goes amiss.

I now have the week off work, but will mainly be trying to write an article (I have signed up to #acwrimo or academic writing month on twitter, to try and get myself into gear for getting myself published; this is really important to me both professionally and personally). So I’ll probably be going back to work for a break! But anyway it *is* nice to not have to get up at 6am and deal with Scotrail for a few days, and I will make sure I go out for a good brisk walk each day, weather permitting.

Weekly weigh-in (6) and new job

I did weigh myself on Monday (as intended), but then had to run around all day on my last day health visiting before starting the new job on Tuesday, and by the evening I had forgotten how much I had weighed 😮 I know tomorrow is a bank holiday, but I am working a normal day (sigh, just like the NHS) so as I remembered to weigh today here it is. I have also decided to also add here how many kgs I still have to lose, as another incentive (hopefully):

Weekly (well a bit more) weight loss: 0.5kg
Running total lost: 1.5kg (though MFP, the monitoring site I use, says I have lost 1.4kg overall and I suspect they’re probably right).
Amount still to lose: 28.5kg (I know this sounds a lot, and it is, but if I can keep chipping away at it just a little bit each week that will be good).

The new job is going OK so far. I have been told (by a 1st year PhD student who is being supervised by my line manager) that I still had a bit of a ‘rabbit in headlights’ look, which pretty much sums up how I felt, although by Friday I did feel like I’m starting to get my head round it all a bit. My colleagues are very nice, but it is a very different working atmosphere – before I was in a large open-plan office with lots and lots of people and constant background noise (it was like a zoo to be honest), and now I am in an office with one other person. I am aware of other people around about, but they do their thing and I do mine, so although I am meeting a few people I really don’t know who they are for the most part, so that will take a bit of getting used to. In the last place, by the time I’d been there a couple of days I knew everybody’s business and they knew mine, it was just that kind of place, and most subjects were up for discussion, but I’ve really not had that kind of conversation at all. There have been a few frustrations (for example my contract which I signed and sent back a month ago had got lost, probably sitting in someone’s in-tray being ignored, and they only found it 3 days after I’d started, so that was all a bit irritating as it means I still don’t have a working email address and I was also beginning to wonder if I’d get hit with emergency tax as my P45 was with the contract), but mostly it is just going to be a case of getting my head down and reading round the subject in preparation for fieldwork – I will be travelling from next month for interviews and regularly thereafter for a good few months, I’m looking forward to the work though will need to get used to long train journeys and B&Bs for a while. I’m still feeling a bit of a novice as the research is in a subject I’m not an expert in, but overall I think it will be a really good experience, and come the end of the year/into next year it should be a lot less pressure and I can do more of the fun bits like writing (and trying to make a difference for clinical practice).

I am though going to need to sort out the diet and how it fits in with work. I have an epic commute every day, so eat my breakfast at stupid o’clock, and then by the time I get to work I’m ready for another breakfast. So that’s going to need a rethink – I might try just having a bit of fruit before I leave then bringing some cereal to work to have breakfast then to take me through to lunch time. On Friday I started thinking about lunch from the moment I walked into the office at 8.45 (and had eaten most of what I’d brought in for lunch by 10!), so that definitely needs some work. 🙂

Yay me :D

So I had the job interview today (in Edinburgh). Why yes, I did get the job, thank you for asking 😀

I start in May, which is perfect timing as my OU work stops in June for the summer. I am really chuffed – I enjoyed the interview, felt that if I didn’t get it it would be because there was someone better rather than because I wasn’t good enough, and know it will be great experience. It’s a fixed term position, for 21 months, but it should give me tons of experience to bring to a permanent position.

Thanks Ian, and all, for your prayers and good wishes. I am really grateful. Hooray! 😀

NB I’m not saying anything yet on fb or twitter (I’m not on fb till Sunday anyway); I want to tell my family and work colleagues first rather than have them read something on fb. Thanks!


I checked my emails this evening to discover I have a job interview at an unnamed Scottish university next Friday. It’s just for a 6 month job but it would be great experience. It would also be perfect timing as I only have 10 working days left at my current job.

One day *surely* my job will come (I already have my prince, luckily).

2011 Project365 (day174)


I have enjoyed today’s photo – I didn’t think this day was ever coming!

Today I finally graduated, and was very proud to do so. I had a lovely day, my parents arrived last night and now their 21 year wait for a photo on the sideboard of me graduated is finally nearly over (I haven’t attended any of my previous four graduations). It’s been a long day – I had to get in early to register and pick up my tickets and robes, and then head over to my department where I was picking up spare tickets from one of the Masters students whose family had to be elsewhere today (what bad luck to have your brother graduate his PhD at another university in another country the same day as your own graduation. I have promised him if I ever meet his brother I shall kick him in the shins). After that I met up with HD and my mum and dad, posed for photos (including this one) then had to hang around with the other PhDs graduating this morning (there were 8 of us). Eventually we were allowed in, after some formalities (including singing the university song, Gaudeamus Igitur or somesuch) and the bestowing of an honorary doctorate on someone I must confess I’d never heard of, it was our turn. They did the PhDs first, so at least we got it over with. I was feeling quite sad and angry (people who read my facebook last night will know about that already) – last night I heard that the university Court (the senior management) had overridden the recommendation of the Senate (who should have the final say in academic matters) and have said they will be closing down the Slavonics department in 2012 (there’s some information in this article in the Herald today). I am really sad and very angry about this decision – the partnership my own department has with Slavonics, with nearly all of our postgrads getting language training and more besides from staff in Slavonics, is a really important part of departmental life, and the quality of research outputs from our department is in my view undoubtedly enhanced by the close links with Slavonics.

So, when it was my turn to be given my hood while the Principal muttered something or other in latin and bopped me on the head with the silly hat, I couldn’t bring myself to shake his offered hand. I think I was the only person to do this (it was a bit hard to see as we were right at the front where those waiting in line to go onto the stage were standing) which is very disappointing. This Principal has done untold damage to the university and the sooner he goes the better. I don’t suppose this does my chances of getting a job at Glasgow much good (as there were only 8 of us it would be easy enough for him to figure out who I was afterwards, particularly coupled with the ranty email I sent him last night referring to the fact I was graduating today). But I simply could not in any conscience shake his hand when he is causing untold damage to the future good of the university. I’m very sad.

At the end of the ceremony we all processed out into the Quadrangle where we ended up following a piper round the quadrangle, Pied Piper-style, which really was very very surreal! After that it was drinks and photos (not masses from me as the camera batteries went shortly after the ceremony – my pics are here in this flickr set), and then off to the department for more drinks and chat and whathaveyou. We then had a lovely lunch just the 4 of us (me, HD and my parents) and then had a very pleasant wander round the Botanic Gardens. From there back to town for some restorative caffeine, and then we left mum and dad to their own devices for the rest of the evening back at their hotel, as we were all looking really very tired. We are planning an adventure tomorrow with them before they go back on Saturday, so I am very grateful for the weather forecast, earlier this week it really wasn’t looking at all hopeful but I think it’s going to be nice so we shall have a fine old time showing them a bit of beautiful Scotland.

2011 Project365 (day144)

24th May 2011

Tonight I finished my essay marking, this is my last essay to mark until October. I just have to do a revision tutorial on Saturday, and a bit of exam support as required (mainly cheerleading and reassurance at this point) and that is me done till October. Although I do really love my OU work, I am looking forward to the break (not sure my bank account is though, but let’s not think about that!).

2011 Project365 (day100)

10th April 2011

So we’re 100 days into 2011 – time is really flying. Today I went up to uni to work on my thesis corrections in the library, this is a picture from a bit further down the road of the tower of the university main building, with the occupied Free Hetherington building in the foreground (you can just see a banner over the entrance, right of the picture). The Hetherington building used to be the club for postgrads and mature students, but was closed by the university more than a year ago, but has been occupied by students since February this year in protests against the cuts the university is planning on making. Things came to a head in March when the university extremely heavy-handedly tried to evict them using goodness knows how many of Strathclyde Police, since when they have apologised and allowed the occupation to continue. There’s a rather idealistic piece by two of the protesters here.

I’ve made a good dent in my corrections, and reckon with a couple more evening’s work I should have more or less got them done. The deadline is 18th April, so I’m pleased it’s not too last-minute (relatively!). I’ve also seen a couple of jobs I might apply for, and as usual there are essays waiting for marking. No rest for the wicked! 🙂

Spot the deliberate mistake

Now, I know I have only just submitted my thesis, but as my thoughts are already turning to the next chapter in life, how could I possibly manage without a course of some description? So a couple of months ago I tried to apply to a local university (not the one I’m currently at, but in the same city) to do the graduate certificate in sexual health nursing, with a view to working in sexual health and family planning (at least part-time – I reckon if I can keep a few OU courses going and then do a few shifts at a clinic each week, that will suit me just fine, and there might be some research openings there too). The initial application process was not the easiest – the administrator sent me a form, entitled “Supplementary Form 4”, which just asked me which modules I wanted to do and then told me to write the appropriate module code “on page 1 of the application form”. Which rather implied that there was another form. As did the fact that Supplementary Form 4 had no space for my address, qualifications, employment or supporting statement. However when I pointed this out to the administrator (along with the fact that Supplementary Form 4 itself talked about another form) she emailed back to say “I don’t understand what you’re asking, I have sent you the form, here it is again in case you didn’t get it” along with another attachment of Supplementary Form 4. I felt really bad that I had to be blunt, but I had to email her back to point out that in every other application form I’ve ever completed I’ve had to include my address, qualifications, employment and supporting statement. She then did immediately send me the application form as required, and was very apologetic, but I must say it didn’t fill me with the most overwhelming sense of confidence.

On Monday I got a phone call from someone at the university. Unfortunately I was in the most heightened state of last-minute-thesis-itis (I was still hoping to submit later that day) so I had to interrupt the guy and tell him it was the worst possible time to speak to me. He sounded a bit affronted, and I suddenly had a horrible thought that maybe this was my preliminary interview! Whoops! I did explain that I was submitting my thesis that day and he did obviously smile and say he understood totally and he would email me, and he duly did to say that I had been accepted onto the course. Hooray.

I then got a letter from the university in question this morning. See if you can spot the deliberate mistake in the first sentence:

‘Dear ………..
The university is pleased to make you an unconditional offer of a place for session 2010/11 for the programme leading to the: GRADUATE DIPLOMA BUSINESS WITH ENGINEERING (PT) entering at year 1.’

Ahem. I fear a phone call may be in order on Monday.