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Dizzying highs & sickening lows of research trip

Thomas Bray This post was originally published August 1, 2012

Thomas Bray
Thomas Bray

Now, it may be a reflection of my status as a PhD spring chicken (N.B. not a real status, or, come to that, a real chicken), but I still get really rather excited about research trips. And I don’t mean, Ooh, I think I’ll have another slice of toast excited, I mean the Oh my God I can’t sleep! kind of excited. I just lay there for hours quietly whispering to myself, I’m going to London tomorrow, to look at some documents, and some of them are QUITE OLD! Eventually my housemate comes in and calmly, possibly even politely, asks me to cease and desist, but I can’t help it: I just cannot shake that Research-Trip-Eve feeling. It’s a bit like I’m six again, except this time the presents are not under a tree but in a locked room, and wrapped not in festive paper but in manila folders.

This feeling cannot last. I mean, the documents I am off to see aren’t magic beans, and they certainly are not going to write my thesis for me. They are just pieces of paper.

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The inevitable awkward question

Thomas Bray | This post was originally published August 29, 2012

Thomas Bray
Thomas Bray

I recently attended a large-scale family affair, my first since embarking on my PhD. It was an amiable affair, all free-flowing wine, witty repartee, and the occasional awkward silence when I was inevitably asked: So Tom, just what are you up to these days?

Make no mistake, the silence did not follow my response that I was studying for a PhD, or that I was based at the University of Warwick. Some people did ask me whether I liked living in the town of Warwick, and in the end I just gave up correcting them and started describing how first-years sometimes live in the castle. All of this preliminary conversation was greeted with a smile and a laugh. But I knew what was coming next, and I knew that it could not end well. The question. The unanswerable question. The dreaded question. Tell me, what is your PhD actually about?

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End of transcription…I feel alive again

Salma Patel |This post was originally published January 15, 2013

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 09.15.55Despite having planned to transcribe all my research interviews as I was going along, it didn’t quite work out that way. This was mainly due to the limited availability of participants and then the lack of them, which meant I re-located mid-way (very happily I must say) to my parent’s home for over two weeks so that I could conduct interviews one after the other. There’s nothing more I need or would want for motivation and energy than the fresh chappatis and curries my mother churns out every evening! Bless her 🙂

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Your Experiences

How I learnt to stop worrying and embrace 3rd year

Thomas Bray | This post was originally published 19 August, 2013

worryingEdit: Since publishing this post, I have been informed by a few learned people (some real, some less so) that I in fact spent a week on a narrowboat, not a longboat. Before you write a new batch of disgruntlement-mail, please be aware that I have recognised this slip-up, but that I have decided to keep the references to ‘longboats’. This is because Vikings used longboats (Vikings are cool), and because my cleverest joke in this article, detectable only by 0.427% of the population, revolves around the word. Thank you for your comments, and I apologise for any inconvience it may have caused to you or your PhD.

Please excuse me my long absence. I have just returned from two very confusing holidays, and it has taken me a while to recover. Even now my eyes are slightly glazed over, and I have a near-morbid fear of prime numbers. It’s a long story. If you stop me on the fifth floor of the library, I’ll tell you and then run away.

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From Warwick to Oxford…

Samantha Lyle | This post was originally published 14 October, 2013

varsitywarwick1 From Warwick to Oxford – A Little Bit of Who You Know Won’t Do You Any Harm.

Since I arrived at Warwick as an undergraduate in 2001, these are some of the things that I have done the following:

Gotten a BA in Politics, International Studies and Gender | Dyslexia diagnosis | Refined my thinking/learnt a lot | Won a teaching award | Set up a highly successful student society | Did loads of part-time work in catering, admin, research, careers service, teaching and as an academic coordinator | Made friends| Went on inter-rail | Galivanted about on a study trip to Berlin | Met my partner | Did an MA part-time| Had two children | Made succesful funding bids | Organised a post graduate conference | Published joint papers and solo papers | Ran workshops | Organised speakers | Completed my PhD | GOT A RESEARCH POST AT OXFORD UNIVERSITY!

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Dance, dance revelations

Thomas Bray | This post was originally published November 27, 2013

1945 Dancing Man. Wikipedia Commons.
1945 Dancing Man. Wikipedia Commons.

This post starts, as so many do, with a confession: I have recently become a dancer in the dark. No, this does not have any great metaphorical meaning, nor is it a reference to Lars von Trier’s millennial masterpiece. Of late, I have literally and physically been turning off the lights in my kitchen cum dining room cum living room, perching my headphones around my ears and careering around to the various tempos of my iPod. Sometimes I do it wearing socks, sliding up and down to the rhythms of new wave indie pop, and sometimes I go barefoot and pogo to the discordant beats of classic punk. More often than not, however, I just hit random and see where the mood takes me. This lasts anywhere from thirty seconds to a full hour, and seeing as my housemate has recently disappeared back to the mysterious climes of Gloucestershire, I anticipate doing it much more over the next few weeks.

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Case study: Impact in the Arts and Humanities

What is impact? What does it mean for ECRs? This case study, by Charlotte Mathieson, focuses on Dr Laura King, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow whose work involves a number of public engagement activities.