The anniversary of my mum's passing is a moment of reflection every year. As I sit down with a drink, and think back to what the past year has been like, it is hard not to be negative. Covid has royally screwed up any plans I made for myself professionally and personally, and has not been great for my mental health either. It has been a long hard slog.
However, as I sit here with some quality German Bock beer, my mind is moving to the future, and to the things that lie ahead. The upcoming year will see the last cohort of the course I wrote 5 years ago pas through, I (only) have 1.5 years left in my doctorate programme, and my oldest son is starting year 1 in a few months. Time flies, even when you are not having much fun.
A few weeks ago I made the very hard decision to reduce my contract hours to make more time for my doctorate. Covid and it's related issues have made me fall behind schedule a lot, and it will be hard to get back on top of things. The only way I could see to make more time is to reduce time elsewhere. I already spend too little time at home, so my only option was to work part-time. I'm not going to lie, it felt like a failure and like I was not cutting it as an academic.
After thinking it through, and discussing the inevitable financial implications with my wife (a new bike will have to wait a bit longer...), I made the decision to go ahead. It took a few weeks to materialise, but from 1 August I will officially be a part-time employee. I have now also realised that even-though I will be a part-time employee, I will still be a full-time academic (I will just not get paid for all the hours I put in).
Hopefully having one full day per week extra to dedicate to my doctorate will mean that I get back on top of things, and remain happy. Time will tell, but as soon as I put in the request it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders, so it can't be a bad thing really, can it?
I am slowly getting back into the swing of things with my doctorate too. I am working on an exciting novel contribution to my method of research (more detail will follow in a future post), and I have reached the phase where I start talking about it properly. I have delivered two presentations introducing the new concept, am finishing up a vignette explaining the practicalities for submission to a text book chapter, am half way through writing a manuscript detailing it and am delivering a presentation on it to a group of Canadian and American health science researchers next weekend. In the mean time i am also still coding interview transcripts, and slowly making more sense of grounded theory.
That is all for now really. Thanks for reading, be on the lookout for the next post!