Love What You Do
Thank you to Trystan for this topic! Visit her blog and take part here
(warning this post is a lengthy ramble, because I found it very hard to write. Feel free to skip down to the tl;dr section at the end!)
Paid work; I'm a web-monkey, a very chilly one!
The paid job I have now was obtained simply to provide the necessary funds to allow me to complete my PhD, I think I was unbelievably lucky to find it too. I love working for a small company, I love that I work in IT and Photography despite having no qualifications at all in either, I love that very little of my work involves dealing with the public, I love that my bosses are understanding about my PhD and thus my hours are very flexible, they don't care how I dress either.
If the office wasn't so cold in winter I would happily stay working there for the next 3 or 4 years while I finish my PhD. I know that the temperature of an office is a silly thing to change jobs over but the days of not feeling my feet and typing in my mittens have really taken their toll on me this winter. I think my health is suffering and I worry about the long term impact.
So unless they heat the office better; which I doubt (the big boss doesn't feel the cold, but does see the electricity bill). I will be looking for a new job before next winter.
Volunteering; history nerds paradise
My unpaid job, volunteering for the Moseley Society Local History Group is fantastic, I'm getting involved in local history, finding out about fascinating people, discovering the transferable nature of the skills from my paid job to the field I really love. It's really helping me be inspired again too. Also I'm making connections with people who could offer me a job one day in the future if my ultimate academia dream doesn't come to fruition.
PhD of doom; you don't have to be mad or morbid to do this but it helps!
I've been really struggling with my PhD the past few months, I'm working on a very theory dense chapter which means fighting my way through other people's confusingly and often pretentiously written textbooks in order to decipher their theories about landscape, ritual, monuments or power, try to get my brain around them and apply them to my vastly different case studies. It's hard and it makes me feel stupid. Feeling stupid is not good for a researcher; it makes me feel as though I'm not worthy of my PhD.
I'm still slogging away though, slowly, oh so slowly and I'm sure I'll get there in the end. In fact I wrote 2,000 words yesterday so hopefully I can keep that up, If I do that another 3 days in the next week, I'll have the chapter done in time to meet my supervisor!
The fact my university is closing my department and my supervisor might leave is really not helping my motivation. I couldn't even bring myself to apply for funding this year because I would have had to lie on the form. One of the sections was '100 words on why the University of Birmingham is the best place for you to study'. The truth is it’s not, I wanted to put;
‘I have dedicated 5 years of my life to this university already and I'll be damned if you closing the department and my supervisor threatening to leave is enough to make me uproot my whole life to another city. I've been working to pay for this PhD myself including all my fieldwork trips and a Human Osteology course because you cut that from my masters without the courtesy of telling me. Please just give me a break and hand me some money so I can live like a decent human being for a year whilst I write up my findings?' (100 words)
I didn't think that would go down too well though!
I also have things to look forward to though; fieldwork, which I am good at, which I do enjoy. I love finding a headstone that has faded through weathering, tracing the faint letters with my finger or looking at a memorial with missing lead lettering to play connect the dots and work out the inscription (lead lettering is held in with tiny pegs so when it's missing the holes from the pegs are left behind in the shapes of the letters). I love the peace and tranquility of the cemeteries and being surrounded with such beauty.
I need to spend one more day at Cathays in Cardiff, hopefully during March, then in May I finally get to go to Highgate and do my recording in the West cemetery! I'm so excited! The new CEO has been in communication with me to resolve the insurance issues and I can go ahead with my work! The photographs I take whilst I'm there will have to be for research purposes only, but I'll take some when I'm volunteering and share those with you instead =]
I also have my Human Osteology course in April, a 3 day intensive course in Bournemouth, where I will hopefully pick up some of the knowledge I missed during my masters when the module was cancelled.
The tl;dr version:
My paid job has it's advantages but it's too damn cold there, at least I've lumped my hours into 3 days now to make time for volunteering at the Local History group which I really enjoy.
Sometimes it's hard to remember why I love my research but I do love it and I know it will be worth it in the end. I know more about the topic that anyone at my university, probably more than all but a handful of people in the world. My research, like my attire, is a way of making the fact I will never fit in work for me.
One day I hope to be the eccentric professor in the top hat, lecturing in a slightly over-excitable way about death and burial!
Homework: Date Night
Instead of turning in my Homework, this is an IOU Professor Z!
Me and Ash are celebrating Valentine's day late this year (combining it with his birthday celebrations) and going to London for a few days of wandering around museums, going to The Making of Harry Potter and generally being soppy romantics!
We don't go on 'dates' very often, especially not now we are living together, so It'll be really nice to spend 'quality time' together! Also I'm sure i'll find some excuse to get all dressed-up!
I'll certainly be taking this hat:
Let's hope I don't leave this one at Euston station!
Top Hat: From the Rag Market for £25, it's their children's size and I had to get it ordered in specially, decorated with ribbon and lace from another market stall!
I need to clean my camera lens!
I promise lot's of gooey, romantic pictures on the by the 2nd of March! Or at least pictures of us pretending to play Quiddich =P