Dr Alice Violett
Book thoughts and PhD archive

PhD archive

As my URL suggests, I have a PhD. It’s called The Public Perceptions and Personal Experience of Only Children, c. 1850-1950 and took just under five years, which was two years longer than planned. The first three years were suspiciously easy, the unexpected fourth year was not, and I spent most of the fifth year waiting for the wheels of bureaucracy to turn.

I blogged throughout my PhD, initially to a schedule of once a week, but far less frequently (yet arguably with more substance) once I found myself rewriting my entire thesis while working full-time. The original blog is on Tumblr, but I’m pretty sure that site won’t last much longer, so I’m parking it here for anyone who wants to read it. This section is a work-in-progress - please keep checking back as I clean up more of my old posts!

I’ve weeded out unnecessary images (mostly because I can’t be bothered to copy everything into my images folder) and reblogs (don’t really work as a concept outside of Tumblr).

Three Identical Strangers is shocking and heartbreaking, and put me in mind of my own research methods and findings.
I graduated!
On Friday 20 July 2019, 145 weeks and two days after my original viva, nearly 15 months after my second viva, and just over ten months after my certificate was issued, I finally had my graduation ceremony.
Anyone can now read my thesis online. I think this means I’m technically a doctor now, but I’m not going to fully believe it until I receive the letter that says so.
The reVIVAl
'When the weight we carry breaks us, we're tempted to stay down; But every road to recovery starts at the breakdown.' - Rise Against, Miracle
It's done. Again. For now.
One year on
Today, it’s a year since I had the viva that turned everything I thought I knew on its head and threw my post-PhD plans into the air.
It’s funny, I thought I’d take so long to decide whether to carry on with my PhD that the decision would be made for me...
There has basically been no progress since my last post. I started restructuring my thesis two months ago and promptly stopped for four reasons.
I have conquered the reading list. I have read all the relevant parts of all the books and articles I was told to read in order to succeed at this godforsaken PhD. Unfortunately, that means I have to move on to the editing and writing, which I’m emphatically NOT looking forward to.
PhD Hell Update
Alas, things are not a lot better now.
So, you may have guessed from the radio silence on my blog over the past couple of weeks or so that my viva did NOT go as planned.
The Viva Prep Post
For the past week and a half, I’ve been meticulously going over all my knowledge about my thesis in order to be ready for anything my examiners throw at me.
No More Feeling So Useless
So, after 10 weeks and 5 days of unemployment, I finally got a job offer.
Just Another Panic Monday
One thing people assume about the unemployed is that every day is the same to them. Weekday, weekend, it makes no difference.  After ten weeks, I can assure you, that’s not the case.
Oh, the Humanities!
The humanities get a bad rap.
Long-term readers will be aware that I am not good at summer.
Today, I will mostly be ranting about the use of graduate earnings to evaluate how good a course/university is.
It seems that people have a lot of pre-existing ideas about what someone with a PhD is, does, and wants, when we’re actually a pretty diverse lot.
I’m almost at the end of week five of jobsearching.
A Love Letter to Twitter
Academic Twitter is abuzz about an article from The Guardian that suggests 'serious academics' don't do social media.
Fear of being judged
Ever since I decided I probably wasn’t going to stay in academia, I’ve been aware that some people will think I’ve ‘failed’ or 'wasted my talents'
It’s two weeks today since I submitted my thesis.
Thesis Submitted.
I submitted my thesis this morning.
Well, submission day seems very close now.  I may actually have to start considering which pub(s) to go to that evening.
As it was a three-day conference, I saw TONS of papers, so as ever, I’m going to talk about a few that I could particularly relate to my own work, and that doesn’t mean that the other ones I saw weren’t awesome too.
Very short blog this week.
So, this week has been pretty productive.
I always knew this would happen eventually.
Six weeks to go!
The ‘approval of title’ form is done. I’m due to hand in my thesis on Friday 8th July.  The countdown has begun!
I’ve had a productive week - I’ve deleted a whopping 13,000 words of thesis, and I just need to add a couple of extra references and draft the cursed conclusion, and then full draft 2.docx will be done.
The End is in Sight!
Got my full draft back on Tuesday.  No nasty surprises!
On Saturday, I spoke and listened at the above conference.  All the papers (hopefully including mine!) were really interesting.
Death By Conference Paper
It’s taken me the best part of a week to write a 30-minute conference paper, and I’m really annoyed that it took so long.
I have reached that fabled stage of the PhD.  The one where you’re sick and bored of the sight and existence of the thesis.
As promised last week, this week’s blog is about the ‘Storying the Past’ session me, Helen Rogers, and Simon Briercliffe ran at the Social History Society conference, concurrently with a Twitter conversation.
This week I made my annual trek to the Social History Society Conference, which has become a highlight in my calendar.
Is it really a full draft if it doesn’t have a conclusion?
Postgrad Careers Day
The time to search for jobs is getting closer and closer.  This week, I did myself a favour (unlike when I was a cocky undergrad) and went to a careers day aimed at postgrads.
Having missed the last Storying The Past Twitter discussion due to teaching commitments, I was keen to get involved in this month’s conversation about Threads, by Julia Blackburn
It’s been quite a busy week for me, not that I’m complaining. As well as having two new classes to teach, I joined in an online book group discussion and transcribed an early modern woman’s recipe book alongside 88 others.