PhD Candidate Anna Kent shares with us her experiences of dealing with her two, real worlds.
Colloquium, since Summer School 2015 I have thought about it – on and off. Serious panic set in when I was given a date for December… Clerical error corrected; May it was (phew)! Preparations began slowly. My supervisor was great – suggesting ideas for what to include, and talking with others preparing was useful – sharing the stress is always great.
Colloquium is one of those things that everyone tells you is a really useful process, but you don’t really believe it until you do it. Until you do, it’s that big scary hurdle that you have to jump over.
Logistically, the colloquium provided a few extra challenges for me. A few missed family gatherings, Sunday afternoons tucked up in the study waving away small kids: “mummy…what are you doing?”
Theoretically it also provided challenges. Theory has never been my strong suit. I wrestled with theory throughout my Masters, working hard to push my thoughts and ideas into the framework of different theories. Theory has been in my thoughts since the beginning of my PhD – how I was going to wrestle the beast again – but better this time. So I took the crazy decision to include a chapter on theory in my colloquium document. But as wise, post-colloquium heads can tell you, it was a great idea. It forced me to think hard about how I was going to frame my project, and forced me to face my theoretical fears head on.
Two weeks before my colloquium was due I took time off work to be a full time student…it was great to have some time to write, think and write some more. Submission done, I headed off to start a new job and tried not to worry about my panel appointment. But again, as wise post-colloquium heads will tell you, the panel can be a great experience. Because, why wouldn’t you want to talk about your project with people who are interested and engaged? It was fantastic to get new ideas, fresh eyes and a different perspective on a project that I am passionate about.
So, confirmation granted, I celebrated with my supervisor, discussed plans for next steps and then to ensure I made the most of my day on campus, I headed off to chat with some fellow PhDers. I drift off, getting caught up in the romance of the day, what life could be like, on campus, studying everyday…and then the dream is punctured by the sound of my phone. It’s the doctor, wanting me to bring our four year old in to discuss treatment for a stomach parasite. Yep, back to reality, welcome to the real world.