On Tuesday 16 July I complete my work in progress seminar (WiP). It went well. I spoke okay (had a dreadful cold) but what was awesome was when I got asked questions I had answers. I know that my seem weird, but it was the first time I’ve been confident in my question, my data, my analysis, to the point I could answer questions. I mean, I’d always had a go before, but this time I actually could say “Oh yes, well as I show in the model here….” or “Yeah, I know what you’re saying. I’ve not had time today but there’s this reading…..” or “Interestingly the data is not going in that direction and my thoughts are….”. There is something empowering in knowing that you just know your shit!
Then today I had a supervisor meeting which went so well! Basically we all agree I’m on the right path, I just need to do more and find my voice. This is an interesting problem to have. After 13 years in the public service, changing my voice for whatever senior manager desired I’m not really sure I have a writing voice. What was more interesting is my supervisors said the way I presented at the WiP should actually be my voice in my thesis…now that’s food for thought. I’m being encouraged to write as me. For those who have ever been part of the government you will know that never happens! Anyway, deadlines are looming and I need to get more analysis done so no time to waste. I’m off to find my voice!
Yesterday there was a great session where Ben and Doug spoke about how to situate research within the literature using the work of Locke and Golden-Biddle. Fortunately Doug had given me a copy of the article so I knew where they were going (in fact I’ve used it as a reference in my thesis already!). the presentations were great because they showed thinking. They showed how other people consider the options for their research and how they build their understanding of their research problem. I also have an idea for structuring my literature review. Bonus!
I also liked the forum because I asked basic questions and people were really informative and patient with their responses. Additionally I got to thank Bruce publicly for the amazing support he’s given me and continues to do so.
What made me sad was at the end in casual chat I was reminded how academics are their own worst enemy. Ben mentioned how he had been nervous and I asked why, given his presentation was so good. Another academic remarked that it’s always scary presenting to colleagues because you’re exposing your research to your peers and that can be really bad. I was reminded how some people do not know the line of critique and being critical. I hope I never lose the courage I have to talk about my research, anywhere, to anyone. I know I almost lost it after my confirmation, but I held onto it, and will now nurture the courage more than ever.
I have to be a discussant tomorrow and apparently people use slides so here’s mine:
Discussant – SLAPP
Tonight I hope to be awake enough to post about my presentation, but in the meantime I’m putting the slides here so I can access today.
Turns out I wasn’t awake enough! It was really great. I got solid feedback for the paper and met amazing people for my thesis. I met two incredible women, Meredith and Kathie, who have recently completed their PhDs. We got to talking about how to complete a thesis and came up with a range of issues I think everyone in the first year should have. Talking to them was like getting the real story instead of the waffle you usually get. It was warts and all. I’ve been to websites that offer support and ideas, got the books and they are all upbeat and positive about it all, while saying it does take hard work. These women were just like – this is reality, these are some tricks that worked for me, and in the end you write. The value of the conference has been met on the first day!
So what was the advice?
- Project manage the thesis – the whole time period
- Do a spreadsheet to manage your words for each chapter and stick to it. You can only add words if you’ve taken them away from somewhere else
- Give yourself a buffer of words when you submit because if you have to edit you want room
- Mange your supervisors – this means booking time and seeking clear instructions from them and agreement about turn arounds
- If you aren’t passionate about it, don’t do it. A thesis is not just a piece of paper to get to be an academic. It’s a passion. If it’s not – go and get a job for a while and then come back.
Thanks APIRA – you rock
This is just a post so I have my slides for tomorrow as I can’t remember my log on to WordPress and am too anxious to work it out. (My computer remembers me…the computer at university tomorrow will not!)
And just in case I need this
Draft Proposal – For Submission
Monday is up there as one of the more amazing days of my life. My introductory seminar was amazing. While I thought I was muddling through I got to the end and then the questions showed I’d not actually muddled but had been clear and had made my point well. Then there was discussion in the room about my topic showing just how interesting people find it. And from this discussions have identified issues I need to think about and ideas arose that I hadn’t considered. All in all it was fantastic.
Then afterwards I had people send me further points and questions as well as provide me feedback on my presentation skills just as I had asked! I really am so thankful for everyone who attended and for continuing to push me further.
After that we had a small lunch in the pub. It really was lovely. Diane you’re just wonderful.
Then I went to a two day colloquium with a bunch of academic accountants. I have to say, I was not looking forward to it. After all how exciting can accountants be? Turns out, bloody interesting! There were amazing sessions and amazing discussions with people afterwards. There was a lot of ideas and challenges to my own concepts for my thesis as well as different directions I can now go in. I’m going to need time to digest it all and I think there are likely to be posts coming in the future. That’s how amazing it was. I’m going to think more about it, revisit my notes and then write more about it…..oh god, I like accountants…..