On Monday, I started.
Admin, admin, admin. My super supervisor showed me my desk in the shared EE* PGR** office at Northumbria University. I registered with the faculty. I proudly picked up my student ID from the library on Tuesday. I activated my official university email address with some help from IT to apply an errant licence. I applied for a railcard. I purchased my first discounted train tickets for a data training trip to London. I attended a couple of lectures. I also set about weeding through the hundreds of emails (mostly from my supervisor) that had accumulated in my inbox over the last few weeks: conference dates, abstract submission dates, fees – anyways, they are all on a spreadsheet now, including my questions, to be discussed in near future. I fired off a few emails getting in touch with a number of helpful research contacts. I now know where the kitchen is and how to use the printer room. Towards the end of the week I was certainly less likely to be hopelessly lost in the maze of the Ellison Building A, B, C, and D. And E.
There was my birthday, meeting up with lovely folks and old friends, speaking on a panel at the Cycle Infrastructure Masterclass with John Dales and Phil Jones, visiting the dentist, starting to draft the Campaign Plan 2015/16 for newcycling, and working with Scott’s newcycling infra team on traffic order and consultation replies. What keeps cropping up in discussions is words like fairness, justice, equality and parity… so I have attach a thought-provoking graph from a recent presentation from Dr Kate E Horner that shows my profession, civil engineering, having some way and time to go to reach gender parity – 2109 in fact.
Back to this century – towards the end of this week, I had met all my PGR office mates. Some have just started; some are writing up their thesis. The vibe that I picked up was one of knowledge and relevance – and I had a rather strange feeling of ‘coming home’. I am settling in. Physically at first.
Mentally it will take a little longer to comprehend it all. It’ll sink in eventually. At the moment, however, I am simply floating on air.
* Engineering and Environment
** PGR postgraduate research