Tag Archives: PhD

Run up to the viva

Quite a few people will have heard elsewhere that I had my PhD viva yesterday, hence the blog silence for a few days (why yes, I did pass with minor corrections, thank you for asking!). I will post separately about the viva, and will also post pictures (I have been faithfully still snapping away for Project365), but while I’ve not been posting I did creep in to record what happened in the week leading up to the viva, so here it is. Warning: the first day is rambling drama queenery.

[Started on 9th March] I’m posting this as a draft, to be published once my viva is over. I don’t want to broadcast the viva details to all and sundry in advance in case it all goes horribly wrong, but mainly because I don’t think I can handle the constant “how is it going?” “how is it going now?” “are you nervous?” etc. Not that I’m not massively grateful for everyone’s interest and support, I couldn’t have got this far without it, but now I’m so near the time for V-Day I’m a bit oversensitive and up myself about it.

Anyway. Tomorrow I have one week to go. Which I think makes today V-8.

V-8. Just today and tomorrow left at work before I take the week off to prepare. The last couple of days I’ve been feeling quite emotional. I’ve been thinking back over the more than 5 years since I started this, and am sad that because of the funding situation where I had to do all that teaching, and then having to go back to work after 4 years, I feel like apart from the months when I was doing my fieldwork, my PhD was always on the back burner, there were always other things I had to prioritise. Some things were good (getting married for a start!), but I always resented the teaching and marking and the massive amounts of time and energy it seemed to take out of me, meaning that I felt like I was always giving my thesis (and HD) the leftover energy. That’s been even more the case since going into health visiting again, and although it got a bit better with me going down from 5 to 4 days a week, the PhD did still get the dregs of energy after all the rest of it was used up, and I felt like I threw it in rather than submitted it properly. Even since it’s been submitted, what with my two jobs and all I’ve barely looked at it since (although I have thought about it a *lot*, and also dreamed about it a few times as well, rather traumatically!). But now I’ve got the week off coming, the intention was always that for this week, nothing comes between me and the thesis and, unlike most of the rest of the whole process, for this week the thesis is the absolute priority. I don’t think I could walk into the viva and get through it if I didn’t feel I had given it at least that.

I felt quite tearful at work today. This week I had a student nurse start; usually I really like having students, and this girl is really nice, but I’m finding that my usual thinking time, either at my desk or in the car between visits, where I’m reflecting on work, just isn’t there as I want her to make the most of the learning so am doing lots of teaching on the job. So I feel like I’m not thinking about work as deeply as I should, so I’m making silly mistakes like forgetting to bring my diary to clinic, or forgetting to phone people or write such-and-such in the notes, and that is stressing me out, never mind with the viva looming as well. And then my colleagues (who are lovely) keep asking me about the viva, because they care and they want me to do well and want me to be OK, and I feel so mean getting fed up of explaining all about the process *again* (I wish I had a £ for every time I have explained that submission doesn’t mean it’s all over, and then that once I’ve had the viva that doesn’t mean it’s all over, as I’ll have corrections etc – it’s really exhausting!). And then they are also talking about their own holidays, and I am feeling so resentful that apart from long weekends here and there, pretty much the only stretches of decent annual leave I’ve had this whole leave year have both been taken up with the thesis, and whilst they’re in the sun by the pool reading their books and drinking cocktails (which sounds like my idea of heaven right now!) I’m going to be in the library slogging my guts out *again*, and I just wish they’d talk about something else, but I can’t say that because it’s not their fault I’ve made these choices. But I am tired of it all and can’t wait for the week off anyway, I won’t be giving work a second thought while I’m off.

And then I get home, and in the evening find an email from the department saying that one of my colleagues passed her viva today with minor corrections only – that’s always such a good thing, O and I started at the same time here and she’s done so well, I’m so happy for her and am smiling as I then notice some more emails headed “Re: Viva Date”. And then I discover that there is potentially industrial action happening next week – on V-day, obviously – which, if it goes ahead, would leave me without a chairperson or internal examiner. Various emails are exchanged between the various parties with suggested other dates, and I just can’t believe it. Next week is off so I can prepare and think about nothing but the thesis right up to and including V-day, I haven’t got any more annual leave, and now there are suggested other days later in the month and no thought about how I have to arrange days off with my colleagues to make sure we have cover etc. So I send them an email pointing this out (hope it wasn’t too petulant – I was certainly feeling petulant) and then I have a big cry because it’s all just too much. They don’t know when they’ll know the outcome so think we should work towards it still happening on V-Day, and then if they don’t know by Monday (ie V-3) they’ll decide then to change the date. I’m feeling utterly disempowered, everyone is making decisions without me it seems, and the very week that I was putting my thesis first and it might be for nothing. This is really horrible. How am I supposed to do my planned preparation over the weekend, with all the adrenaline and psyched-up-ness of knowing the viva is only a few days away, when I don’t know that any more? But I can’t not prepare as planned as I haven’t got any other bloody time to do it. It is technically possible I could rearrange my week off, but as I won’t know till Monday what’s happening I’ll still have to take that day off anyway, which means if it’s arranged for a couple of weeks’ time I won’t be able to take the full week off before it that I always wanted and felt I needed. And even if I can rearrange the time off, that means I’ll have next week with no work arranged and my student all set up with activities elsewhere, and then I’ll have another week where I have to rearrange cover. I’m just beside myself. Not happy at all.

*And* I need to complete a job application this evening for a job down south (as HD has a job interview in a couple of days down south so that’s on my mind as well). I don’t think that’s going to happen in this mood – I think I’d better go to bed and do it early tomorrow morning before work when my head’s clearer. Great.

V-7 What a difference a day makes. The job application is sent off (posted and online, so no excuses not to consider me!), and I managed to speak to my supervisor who told me that they have rearranged the viva for next week after all, just the day before originally planned, so I don’t need to rearrange everything at work. This is good – less time to prepare, which isn’t so good, but also less time to panic, which is a very good thing indeed! I think they were also relieved that I’d started my email acknowledging that they were all in a difficult position, rather than just having a go at them (there is some form in the dept for viva date cockups), so I’m hoping that that will at least favourably dispose them towards me. I did say to her “you know what I’m like, can you imagine what a drama queen I was being last night?”, to which she laughed and said “yes”. Oops! Anyway. So now this is V-6 rather than V-7.

V-5 I need to finish my last few OU essays for marking and prepare a tutorial for tomorrow (at which I am not sure any students are actually going to come. Great. I’ll take the thesis with me and spend the 2 hours reading it if no students turn up). If I can get that all out of the way today then I can spend the rest of the time only doing the thesis. I’ve decided to go offline from today to help with that – I can’t afford to be distracted. Although today there is the news of the terrible earthquake in Japan, so I want to keep looking online to make sure people (especially marmot, in Hawaii) is safe from the tsunami.

V-3 I woke up to a discussion of the week’s news and review of the Sunday papers on the radio. One of the items discussed relates to work and makes me annoyed, but annoyingly I didn’t hear which paper it came from. HD listens again later so I know where it’s from and who wrote it. Unfortunately it’s from a paper with a paywall, so I can’t read it online (well I suppose I could, but I don’t really want to pay a billionaire any money, especially for an article that will annoy me!). I guess I’m in thesis/research mode, as apart from feeling annoyed I also think “I could maybe write an article about that”. Thesis-wise, I went into the university library instead of church, as I’m finding I’m getting really sleepy in the afternoon, and if the bed is there I just go for a snooze and then find myself waking up 2 hours later, which isn’t very conducive to revision! I chose to sit in my subject area at the library – usually I go to the top floor because it’s light and airy and has good views, but everyone else usually has the same idea. Thanks to belonging to an obscure department, that bit of the library is empty. I think I’m hoping that being surrounded by books of scholarship in my area I’ll get brainier and more knowledgeable by osmosis. I read through the first half of my thesis – actually it’s not that bad at all (apart from the typos, the shame of it!). Have quite a few “did I really write that? That sounds quite impressive” moments.

V-2. More stuff on the radio this morning about yesterday’s annoying article, which is picked up in a couple of other papers. Use my brain today and actually think to buy them rather than leaving it to online chance. Before going out though I had to phone work, as last night I remembered a couple of things I’d forgotten to do which couldn’t wait till I got back. Hopefully now I can stop thinking about work altogether!

I went back to the library, same floor, and read the second half of the thesis. It’s all OK I think, though chapter 6 isn’t quite as good as the rest (I think I knew that anyway). I also managed to find the time to catch up with a couple of friends in my lunch break. Everyone seems very confident I’ll do OK, and I mostly feel OK about it myself. Am a bit annoyed with myself though that I’ve found a few places where I quote sources (and reference them) but then didn’t put them in the bibliography, so I’ll have to dig them out at some point. Hopefully if I can present the examiners with a list of typos and things I’ve noticed there will be a shorter corrections list.

Wonder how I ever did my first degree – I did regular all-nighters and they didn’t seem to bother me at all. These days I get to 6pm and am no good for anything, I just want to sleep.

And I’m really missing the internet! Might have a sneaky look at some blogs now ….. not much brain power left for tonight …..

V-1 Back to the library, read most recent book chapter by external examiner (very useful – it’s musings on methodology and her research used very similar methodology to me). Pop into the department, everyone is very lovely and supportive. Plan last minute answers to potential questions. I’m sure I ought to be in more of a flap than this.

Things to do tonight: find shoes, make sure outfit fits, type up list of typos (which runs to 6 PAGES, can you imagine my mortification?), go to friends’ place for cake (v.important job, that), probably lots of other things too but I can’t remember. That’ll do for now.

Later on V-1 – Shoes found (HD had tidied them away in one of his periodic tidying frenzies). Trousers don’t fit though, so I’m going to have to resort to the cheap shiny work trousers which I can at least do up. Pass the cake.

V-Day! Feeling OK, I start the morning by printing out my list of typos and checking a couple of references, then it’s off to the Cathedral for Morning Prayer, as I wanted to start the day calm and centred (it worked). Then off to the library to reread some of the thesis – concentrating on the Introduction, Conclusion and 2 lit review chapters. Realise around 11 o’clock that there’s only just over 2 hours to go. Feel sick. Have lunch, sit in uni chapel and say a little prayer. Then to the department …….. [to be continued]

Non-photographic things happening in my world

One of the things about posting daily photos is that I can be lazier in blogging – yes the photography is a discipline (which I am really really enjoying) but I want to make sure I keep myself up with what’s going on, as I do occasionally like to look back at my archives and see where I was at, and how far I’ve come (or not, as the case may be).

My PhD viva is coming up very soon. I don’t want to say when till it’s over, as I don’t want to make an enormous fuss prior to the event, but in the meantime, eeeek. From the end of this week I will be going offline for a while till it’s over (will keep taking pictures, but need to get away from non-thesis-related internet for a while).

HD has a job interview soon, which if he’s successful will require some changes to our life. More on that once he’s had it and we know the results. In the meantime, I have a job to apply for too, the closing date is this coming week. I have also applied for some more OU courses to tutor, if I’m not successful with anything else but can get more OU work then I am seriously thinking of stopping health visiting (permanent health visiting, at any rate) and doing OU and supplementing it with bank nursing.

We have a holiday coming up soon too (thank goodness) – HD’s brother is getting married, HD is the best man, so we will be taking a few days before the wedding for a holiday prior to the big celebrations. I can’t wait.

I am meant to be finishing the first draft of a book chapter by the end of this month. Quite when I’ll have time I’m not entirely sure, but hopefully I’ll get something not too scrappy to them. Apart from all the other things going on, I can feel a journal article brewing on a subject which is more interesting to me right now (have spent much of this evening trawling the Moldovan online news), but I’m going to have to put that to one side.

I am doing my first telephone conference tutorial for some of my OU students this week – that’s going to be interesting (she says, not really sure about it, but hey). Before then I have 5 or 6 essays still to mark, and a tutorial to prepare for Saturday. There really is no rest for the wicked. No wonder all I want to do on my Friday day off is sleep and veg out!

Never before has the tagline for this blog felt so elusive …. I think my number 1 priority for April is to rest and enjoy myself, in fact I think I ought to spontaneously schedule it into my diary.

Balance

I’m a week and a half into my new job, and I’m terrified about getting behind on my thesis. I’m not sure how to make more time for it – my concern is really that I can’t give it much quality time. Even though my hours at work are pretty good and I’m home at a reasonably early time, I’m finding I do need a bit of “vegging out time” in order to wind down and get any of the emotion from the day out of my system (and dealing with people in their raw, everyday lives is very emotional, I’d forgotten just how much). I had planned on coming home and doing an hour or so thesis work before cooking/eating, but I’m struggling a bit with that. Partly because of the need to veg out for a bit first, and partly because I’m being really really good at not eating between meals or snacking on junk while I’m at work, but this means that I come home really really hungry so I’m having to cook earlier than I had planned. And once I’ve eaten, the last thing I want to do is fire up the old brain cells. I’m not really sure how to balance these demands on my time and on my brain and on my emotions.

I’m also missing the intellectual stimulation of university. Today as I drove around I spotted the spire of the university’s main building in the distance, and felt a little twinge of, well, not sadness exactly, but just a feeling of missing out a bit. The distance has been good for me, it (along with my current job) has given me a lot of clarity about where I think I want to go with life and career (such as it is/will be – I’ll never be the ultra-ambitious type). But I feel like I’m losing my touch very quickly, and that’s a bit scary. I have a couple of small things to do (an abstract for a conference talk I’m giving next summer, and updating my biographical details for the book anthology I’ll hopefully be part of) as well as my current thesis chapter, and they both feel like the intellectual equivalent of climbing Mount Everest (especially the abstract – you’d think after all the talks I’ve given I’d be fine with writing a mere 200 words, but they’re nearly as hard to write as the full paper!). I think I’m going to give them a go now, and then dig out someone else’s thesis (in a sort-of-similar vein to mine) to remind myself what I’m aspiring to. (I know that last sentence has terrible grammar, but I’m tired).

anticlimax

Today was my last full day at uni. I hadn’t planned to do anything to mark it, as it’s (sadly!) not the last day of my PhD – I have every intention of marking the submission of my thesis! (although when it finally comes to that all I’ll probably want to do is go to bed). The guy who shares my office with me has been working from home this week, so I’ve been on my own in the office, and so it’s been quite quiet up there. Today I finished up sorting out the mountain of articles and other random bits of paper that had rather taken over most of the desk, and filing them away somewhere where I have a hope in hell of finding them again. (I also put a ton of random bits of paper in the bottom of my filing cabinet and locked the door, so I can delay thinking about what to do with them!). My health visiting job starts on Monday, and so I’ll be working on my thesis in the evenings, which means that I’ll only go to the office every few weeks to pick up the stuff I need for whatever chapter I’m working on at the time, so having it in findable files will be very handy.

It does feel a bit strange though. With all of my friends who’ve done PhDs, it seems that they are all around right up to submission day so there’s a very definite ‘end’ to their PhD experience and life at the university. I suspect in the two or three days before submission I will have to take time off work to do the mad panicked formatting and printing thing, but that on current estimates won’t be until next summer for me. Now I have to get my head round doing something totally different – I really don’t feel in the health visiting zone at all yet! I’m expecting Monday to be a bit of a shock to the system!

Some answers

I have given this precisely no thought at all, so my answers this evening may be totally different to my answers tomorrow morning. But I have finished my chapter and can’t face marking the OU essays yet, so what better than a bit of procrastination, and as it’s relating to my thesis I can kid myself that I am using my time constructively. So, here are some answers to Tractor Girl’s questions about the experience of being a postgrad researcher.

What have been some of the most stressful parts of the process, and how have you dealt with them?

It depends on the stage of the PhD. At the beginning, it was feeling like everyone else doing a PhD was Brain of Britain and I was a fraud, and that one day they would find me out. When I was on fieldwork, it was picking up the phone and asking a complete stranger in a foreign language if they would give me some of their time so I could interview them (I’m a bit phone-phobic). Since being back and writing up, managing my time has been probably the most stressful thing. I think I dealt with them by a. realising that everybody else felt like that; b. feeling the fear and doing it anyway (cliche but true), and c. er, I’m not sure I have dealt with time-management very well to be honest!

Other stressful things included moving to the other end of the country away from friends, job, security, etc; having a long-distance relationship (that was lovely too, but did add to the time-management issues); and financial concerns. And the fact that I had to do so much work for the teaching side of things (it was part of the deal as I didn’t get Research Council funding – in return for doing all the tutorials and marking essays for the 1st year undergrads, I got my fees paid and a stipend). It was, by and large, a good deal, as it gave me some really good experience, but the time pressure was enormous and I don’t think I managed it very well.

How do you strike a balance between work and the rest of your life?

Not very well! I think there is something to be said for treating it like any other job, and working 9-5 Monday to Friday. But the thing is it’s not any other job – sometimes the distractions and procrastinations are actually really productive times and you need what looks like time out or wasted time in order to fully “chew over” what you’re going to write (sometimes of course they are just wasted time!). But I often bring work home in the evening – as often as not it will sit there in the bag making me feel guilty and I end up taking it back to the office having done nothing in the evening, not even taking it out of the bag never mind looking at it properly, but if I don’t take it home I feel guilty that I could be doing more work instead of the frivolous stuff I do do in the evening. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle, and one that after 4 years I am no nearer getting out of. But again, as in the question above, realising that everyone else does it as well and therefore I am not actually a failure is quite helpful! Having people around (in real life and online) to encourage me to do normal things is also helpful!

What has made you most excited in your studies?

Having the chance to go abroad and meet really interesting people – mainly on fieldwork, but also at conferences here and abroad too. Realising that I’m onto something and not just making it up. Being taken seriously by people I respect. Seeing connections and disconnections between what my respondents have said and what is “out there” in the public domain and trying to make sense of it all. The fact that after 4 years I still think my research subject is interesting!

How do you see theological work relating to the wider world?

The original question came from a panel of theology students – obviously I am not part of a theology department and in that respect am doing secular research. But because of the nature of my subject, religious voices have had (and continue to have) strong opinions which they’re not afraid to shout out. From the perspective of my research, I see theologians (some official, some armchair) doing great damage both to the people and practices they condemn and to their own cause. It’s very sad. I hope that my research can build some bridges, but the reality is if it is not ignored (honestly, the most likely scenario) then it will piss some people off. I still need to work through how I disseminate my research outside of the academy. Which leads me on to …

How do you see your own work as part of your calling?

This is a difficult question in a way. A couple of years ago, before and after my fieldwork, I spent a bit of time with someone much wiser than me discussing the idea of vocation. This included consideration of the possibility of ordained ministry, but we both quite quickly came to the conclusion that that was not where I was at and not where I was being called, at least for now and for the forseeable future (and, with any luck, beyond that as well 😉 ). We spent quite some time, particularly after I got back from fieldwork, discussing this very question, which was a useful exercise though possibly not the best time to be doing it, as returning from overseas fieldwork it takes a long time to adjust and process your experiences, and I was also just getting ready to get married (hooray!). In terms of my actual research, I still feel that I can use my experiences and insights in some sort of bridge-building way, but I’m still vague as to how, where, etc. It’s not helped by the fact that, by and large, the religious voices I am dealing with in my research are so strident, shrill, and frankly offensive (not to mention very often bonkers). However, they would feel exactly the same about me, and a major part of my challenge and calling is to find a way of imparting grace when what I really want to do is hit them with a bloody great big Clue Stick.

In general, I tend to see calling and vocation as, in the broadest sense, being who God made me to be. So in that sense my research work is part of my calling in that it is more than a 9-5 job, it is a reflection of me and how I work as well as (more importantly) a reflection of the people and situations about whom I am writing. This is something I’m going to have to explicitly acknowledge and explore a bit in my thesis – for all the talk about researcher neutrality, we all come to our research with our own baggage and expectations and values and – at least in the type of research I’m doing – it would be dishonest to claim neutrality.

How has your own faith been part of your work?

In a very low-key and understated way, I think. It’s a secular study, not a piece of applied theology, so it’s not ever going to be an overt thing. I think though that my faith is part of it in the same way that it was part of my work in nursing and all the other things I’ve done – through treating people with respect, and trying to give them a fair hearing, and taking care of the things (insights, opinions, resources, time, relationships) they have trusted to me. I don’t think that having a faith gives me a monopoly on these actions and ways of working – I’d say all of them are hallmarks of good feminist research methods for example – but for me that’s where they spring from.

What advice would you give beginning students? What might you do differently if you could start again?

For practical stuff, I wrote about this a year ago so would direct you to this post. Also, remember that not only is it not about you, it is totally about you, so reflect reflect reflect and take care of yourself. What would I do differently if I could start again? I hope I wouldn’t spend so much of the 1st year faffing about, I’d really like to be more organised, and I think I’d be more systematic about things like research journalling and that sort of thing. I’d have also got into NVivo from the beginning rather than leaving it till the last minute. Other than that though, I think I’m basically glad with how it’s turning out.

Too embarrassed to ask

Over the past few months I’ve blogged occasionally about a paper I was writing which I hoped was going to be included in an anthology based on the conference I spoke at in Finland last December. So it got through the initial vetting and got sent out to peer review in February or March, then in June I got the peer reviewers’ comments and I sent the revised manuscript back at the end of August.

Yesterday I got an email from the editors of the anthology. This email told me that they had got most of the papers back, were working on the anthology introduction, outlining the proposed structure of the anthology, and were about to start touting the anthology round a couple of publishers (if these publishers don’t accept them then they’ll use their own university press, but they’re aiming higher to start with, you never know).

But here’s the thing. Nowhere in the email does it say that they’ve accepted the changes I made to the manuscript, or that mine is one of the papers that is going to be included. I’m kind of thinking that if they weren’t going to include it then they wouldn’t have bothered sending me the email about their next steps, and they did include some encouraging editors’ comments with the peer reviewers’ comments back in June about how my paper fitted in so well with the overall theme of the book. I’d just really like to see in black and white that they definitely will be including it. But I feel too embarrassed to ask them, in case either a. they decided not to include it after all or (more likely) b. it’s a really stupid question as it’s actually really obvious. I think instead I will run it past my supervisor (who also submitted a chapter for the same book and went through the same process I did, but who also knows the editors quite well, and who is also more than used to my daft questions and insecurities).

I just want to get excited about getting something published, but I don’t want to get excited until I’m absolutely sure, as otherwise I shall feel a bit silly.

Sleepy

I came home early today as there is building noise going on at work and it’s impossible to concentrate. Last year I shared an office with someone who was hyper-sensitive to background noise (she took the battery out of the clock because the ticking was annoying her so much, and when the radiator pipes started gurgling I thought she was going to explode), and I always thought this was a bit extreme. But this year I have found noise that previously I would have zoned out gets on my nerves so much it completely throws me off beam and wrecks my concentration in a way it never did before. I brought a ton of books and articles home with me and was full of good intentions (which I think is the story of my entire PhD, good intentions). Unfortunately I was so tired I had to have a lie down (and of course the inevitable happened, zzzzzz). I am also really struggling to get into my chapter writing – I kind of know what I want to say, but I want to say quite a lot of different things (I am writing my background/literature review chapter at the moment) and in the number of words available to me I can only write about them quite superficially, and this is very frustrating, so I look at the internet instead. I think the only way I am going to get this thesis written is to write it out longhand the old-fashioned way, with the computer switched off, and only switch it on to type it up in the end (I’m serious about that, actually!).

I wish I wasn’t so sleepy though. A colleague told me I looked tired this week (I certainly felt it), and I just feel tired all the time.

We are meeting some friends from York up in town tomorrow though, so I’m looking forward to that, and catching up with an exhibition I’ve wanted to see too. And HD and I are going on another adventure on Sunday too, so life isn’t all dull.

Writing

A group of us in my department, at a similar stage of our PhDs (so, all writing-up, post-fieldwork, in-the-middle-of-panicking) have decided to start up a writing group. We met today to decide what to do – it will involve producing 2 or 3 pages for each meeting (to be taken away and read by the others, and receiving feedback at the next meeting), and also having a defined topic on the day that we write for 10-15 minutes on there and then. The idea is to get us into a bit more of a writing groove, and also get some feedback from people other than our supervisors to get another take on what we’re doing. We’re also hoping that it will give a bit of clarity and focus to what we’re writing, as sometimes you can be so caught up in the panic that you forget what exactly it is you’re doing! We’re going to meet properly for the first time next week, bringing something that we’ve been writing (as an example, it could be a section of a thesis chapter, or a bit of an article or conference paper, or a reflection on why we don’t know what we’re doing, or thoughts about an issue that we haven’t quite got our heads round, or something like that), and we’ve decided that for our 10 minute writing task we are going to write a summary of what our theses are about. This is the bit that, for me, I think is going to be most useful. I have been so caught up in job applications and whathaveyou that my thesis feels totally neglected, to the point that I panic that I can’t remember what it’s about.

Talking of jobs, I didn’t get shortlisted for the job at my university, which to be honest was a bit of a surprise. Not that I think I’m God’s Gift, but I did feel I met all the criteria and some. I guess I didn’t. I did though have an email from a friend who got her PhD a couple of years ago, and has just started her first lecturing job after a series of random jobs here and there and about a million applications for various teaching posts. She was quite blunt, but that’s what I needed – she said that the chances are the people who have been shortlisted have already got their PhDs, and that I am entitled to ask for feedback as to why I wasn’t shortlisted. Which I think I will do, as maybe it will help with future applications. In the meantime though I have found a 6 month research assistant post here which looks like a lot of fun, something I’d enjoy doing if we haven’t got anything else in the pipeline, and HD hopefully has an interview down south soon (he needs to hear again from the agency, who I must say are being a bit unimpressive). I’m trying really hard not to get anxious (as is my wont) but it’s not very easy.

On that note, I appear to have run out of clothes, so had better do some ironing. I have been putting it off for weeks (hence the lack of wearable clothes), which is silly as ironing is the one household chore that I do actually like.