It’s freshers’ week again. That means I’m now officially a second-year PhD student! So it seems like a good time to review what I’ve achieved this year and what I hope to achieve next year.
I read a lot. For the first few months it was all secondary reading, then from January or so, I moved on to old child guidance literature, psychology articles, Mass Observation surveys and autobiographies. I’ve read tons of autobiographies and I still have a small pile to get through, and then I have to read even more for a control group. Hoping to have finished that and be coding my notes in Nvivo by Christmas.
I listened a lot. I’ve nearly amassed my full collection of oral history notes, again just a few more to listen to and I need to do a control group. I’ve also been to two ‘proper’ conferences, and spoke at a postgraduate ‘practice’ one with my friends at the university. I’m due to speak at a postgraduate conference outside of my university in a couple of weeks’ time, just to start second year as I mean to go on.
I wrote a lot. Aside from keeping up a blog for nearly ten months, I’ve written ~27,000 words. How many of them I’ll end up keeping for my final thesis I don’t know, but the ‘board’ system my university has means I can’t slack on the writing front. I’ve got my next board in November, and I’ve drafted part of the paper for it so far, and made a chapter outline.
I learnt some new skills. The most useful one being how to use Nvivo, as I have far too much material to rely on sticky notes and highlighters. But I’ve also taken advantage of the University’s Proficio programme to hone my presentation, speaking and oral history skills, as well as to find out more about things like publishing, the UK Data Service, and myself.
So what’s next? Hopefully finishing off the research side and writing, writing, more writing, and keeping going to conferences and actually presenting at them. And teaching, which in my case turned out to not be as hardcore as I thought it was going to be, as I’m teaching in a team rather than on my own. On the one hand I don’t feel like I’ll be getting the ‘full experience’, but on the other it’ll be nice to have someone in the room who’s in my corner!