I can’t quite believe that it was a year ago that I wrote my first ever blog post. An awful lot has happened since then in my professional and my personal life – for instance, I got the job of Teaching Fellow at Birmingham, where I’ve been since September; I moved back to the UK; I’ve spoken at various conferences and have more lined up; I’ve had articles go off to seek their fortunes and come back in fairly good form (although with work that needs to be done). Overall, not bad for a first year after completing the Ph.D.
There are still challenges, though. I’m now looking for a job for the next academic year, and considering what the plan will be if I don’t find one – which, due to the current pressures of this phase of the REF cycle, is looking like a real possibility. I’m trying to get myself into a position where I can begin to do the revisions necessary to turn the thesis manuscript into a book. And there are those articles, which need to be sorted sooner rather than later. It’s really not a good time to be an academic at this stage of my career.
But in terms of the blogging – my minature manifesto that I set out last year said that I wanted to talk about the transition from graduate student to member of faculty; my research; and my teaching. I’d say that the teaching has probably done best, with the research sort of getting a look in, although not as much as I’d like; the professional development side of things has not been as prominent, partially because of being swamped with things to do, and partially because of privacy issues. (That said, I do need to write a post about me and the REF before too long.)
But the other things that a blog is supposed to do have worked as well. I have readers who presumably enjoy the content I post here; I have colleagues who get to know a bit about who I am and what I do, which given I’m coming from six years in the U.S. is not a bad thing. I’ve got a space where I can continue to potter and explore the things I notice in my research and the world around me, whatever shape that may take. Not bad for a year, all things considered.