From treadmill to rollercoaster

The force was strong this week, when I stepped onto the rollercoaster. Better than a treadmill for sure.

Wednesday

Our Architecture and Built Environment department held a friendly-small-but-beautiful PhD researcher get-together this Wednesday. PhD researchers, four intrepid discoverers, were ask to specifically talk about their own personal-professional (current) final frontiers we got to explore (before no human had gone before… lonely footsteps in the snow) and

  1. notice and acknowledge barriers we stumbled upon
  2. what we sought answers to and
  3. the questions we wanted to ask

I thought this was a wonderful idea and a great opportunity for some serious self-assessment, self-organisation and self-maintenance. And I jumped into it with much gusto. The presentation slides are below:

In detail

As a PhD person, in my experience, you really have to learnt to seriously look after yourself. It’s your own journey. In its detail it’s not a well-trodden path you are travelling. You have to discover and navigate the jungle for yourself. In many ways, no-one can help you.

In general

On the other hand in more general terms, of course, you are not alone. Spending time on finding your own people networks – as the department, faculty and even your university playground may not be sufficient – is an investment worth making. It’s you alone who can identify the people who inspire you and may add purpose, direction and even motivation to your work.

Thursday

Saying a last good-bye

On Thursday I used the Metro to attend a funeral service in Monkseaton. Lindsay Perks, a fellow campaigner had died the previous week – aged 83 years, in peace and with a life legacy that is stunning to recount. His son’s Eulogy ended in “A life well lived” and I will rest these words deep in my heart. Lindsay’s death made me ponder navigating the tensions between staying true to yourself yet open to others. Lindsay was someone who brought different strands (thoughts and people) together. I will miss Lindsay, with his vibrant, principled and outspoken character and as an all-round kind, lovely and great person. It’s hard to imagine he should not be with us anymore. R.I.P.

Friday

Pilot study ahead

Rollercoaster, cont. Some good things happen through sheer happenstance. They just happen. They are opportunities thrown at you. Catch! I had a wonderfully energetic productive progress meeting yesterday. It helped to enliven aspects from Wednesday’s presentation. There now is a pilot study to arrange! The feeling of ‘things coming together’ is a wonderful feeling. Of course it also means coming off the (theoretical, reading, reading) treadmill and starting some “real work”.

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