FINALLY starting to settle down… I think…

The last month has been an absolute whirlwind. It seems difficult to comprehend that just a month ago, I was sorting out PhD registration, email, and lazily doing housework.  Induction week was 4 weeks ago on Monday. It seems like a lifetime ago, it really does. And it was beginning to feel like things would never ever settle down into any kind of routine, that I would be doomed to rush from pillar to post, frantically trying to keep up with my email and organise things.

Inevitably, however, they have settled down, a bit. And I was reminded (thanks to Facebook’s nifty ‘On this day’ feature) that five years ago I felt much the same, only then, I was trying to settle into a new house, a new city, as well as a new degree programme. Then, I was trying to get my study sorted out, shelves up, boxes unpacked. We moved again between the BA and the MA – at least this degree course didn’t involve unpacking in Induction week, as it did with the other two!

So in that sense, this time around is a little easier. A little (okay, a lot) more difficult too. More to learn. More intense language. I’m still not entirely sure I know what ‘ontology’ means (not helped by the vaguish dictionary definitions that seem to use the word in a different way to my tutors. Go look it up – go on, I’ll wait), and one of my supervisors drove me to use a dictionary today to look up a word he used. This is a good thing; it’s pushing me to learn, it’s another level I have to step up to.

I spent yesterday in the library; doing notes for that historiographical essay that I have to do for 1st November. Noticing a few patterns, one fairly major one that I’m sure will get a nice ranty paragraph in the essay (and then promptly get taken out again. Ranty paragraphs have no place in academic literature. Unless they make a really excellent, finely focus point. Then … maybe they do.) The essay question I was set comes in two parts and while I can answer the first part okay, the second is a bit more problematic. I may have to give more thought to that one. I do think, however, that spending the day in the library was responsible for making me feel a bit more settled. Feels more normal, more like the student life I’m used to… sort of. I used to find it difficult to work in the library – I’d go in, scan what I needed, or grab the books that I needed, then go home again and work from there in peace and quiet – I seem to struggle to actually WORK in the library. I’m not so sure that practice is working for me any more. The temptation to do anything BUT work is always present and I think I do better with a mix of home and working elsewhere. And yesterday I was able to put my head down and work. I think at least some of the reason for that is that I’m not at a computer (usually) in the library, so there’s a remove from email and facebook and all that online ‘urgent’ stuff which is distracting me a lot at the moment. Yes, it still comes through to my smartphone, but it’s not like at the computer when things bleep or flash or whatever to tell me that there’s this super duper important message on SHOE REDUCTIONS!!! (or whatever) that just pinged into my inbox (!). So I’ve decided to spend at least two days a week working on campus for a while. We’ll see how that goes. Once I start gathering primary sources from the archives that may change.

I attended two little sessions this week as well. Both just 30 minutes long, they were introductions to… sessions. The first was an introduction to reference management – i.e. Endnote, Refworks, Zotero, Mendeley… etc. For the uninitated, one of the things you have to do in academic writing is reference – where that fab quote comes from, where your stats originated. At PhD level, the lit review is a key component – which means reading around your topic widely, so that you become an expert in your field. The average PhD thesis’s bibliography is pages and pages long of references to books and articles that they read or used during their period of study, and management of these references is crucial. What if someone gives you an article in year three, just before you submit, and you’re not sure if you’ve read it before? If you’ve looked at it and discarded it as being not relevant, then it won’t be in the bibliography – and you may end up putting yourself in the position of repeating work. But you can save yourself an awful lot of work by keeping good referencing records, including the decision you made about a text, and why you made it. And of course these software apps do other things too, jolly useful things they are. Or can be, at least. (It’s software, people. That means its going to go wrong. And be teeth-gnashingly frustrating. That’s inevitable.)

The second half hour was on research data management. I don’t think thirty minutes was enough – or at least, it was enough to give us exactly what it said on the tin – an introduction. But it was definitely useful. It got me thinking about all sorts of things, and was a continuation, if you like, of the thoughts I had about meta-notes. Data Management Planning (DMP) is very definetly A Thing, pretty much a compulsory plan that has to be constructed as part of any grant application, and one that I had better get used to doing. The DMP for each project will be very different; it’s very unlikely that I will ever have to consider the physical storage of biological samples, for example, but a STEM project might. Increasingly funding bodies want their researchers to keep their research materials so that if someone else wants to come along and repeat their research, then they can do so, with the exact same materials. There’s good reasons for that; it saves money on recollecting data (and can you imagine how annoyed people would be if you went and asked them ‘sorry, I’m repeating this experiment, can I open your veins again?’… yeah, right!) and it makes it more likely that a direct comparison can be made if it does get repeated. From a historical perspective, it’s particularly exciting; it reduces the chances that a primary source sort of moulders in a damp drawer of a filing cabinet in unsecure conditions that ultimately ends up destroying it (this is part of the reason that archives were established, after all). But just because I’m not likely to hold much in the way of actual primary source material, doesn’t mean I get to ignore the DMP; oh no. It’s not that simple! DMP is about more than that – it considers things like backup, for example. The tutor in the session told us of the guy who left his backpack in the pub one night, and put out frantic posters around university, pleading for the return of the laptop inside it that held five years of research data… Ouch! An urban legend, perhaps. But I know I never want to be that person, or even the person tossing my laptop out the window cos it’s just bricked and I’ve got no backup. Fortunately I have a partner who is an IT guy and he won’t let me do anything quite so silly as THAT. But still, I do think it is good to write these things down into a plan and have it all there in black and white.

One other thing I’m thinking about doing. I’ve watched some vlogs by a number of different people, including the inspirational Ellie Mackin, and I’m seriously considering having a shot at doing my own. We’ll see. I think vlogs are important – people do sometimes respond better to audio-visual material better than written material – and as historians, at least part of our remit is outreach. That can be done the traditional way (via talks, papers, etc.) but social media and video-logging is increasingly becoming a part of that. While I’ve written before about the advisability of using social media if you want to become an academic, I think its a decision that every person has to make for themselves – some will never want to do it, and for others, it feels as natural as breathing. For me, it clearly is a strength, but whether that strength will transition into the audio-visual realm, I’m not so sure. What do people think? Feel free to leave responses below.

Teaching & career opportunities

One of the best things for me about being a PhD student (apart from the fun of research) is that you get to try your hand at teaching. ‘Proper’ teaching – that is – taking tutorials and seeing a group learn and develop over the course of a ten week module. I’ve done a little bit of teaching here and there with undergraduates over the last few years, working on the ‘Historical Research Methods’ module, where undergrads received workbooks to work through on the computer, and I (and others) were around for assistance as needed. But that’s it, so far. It was enough to whet my appetite, and to know that I want to do more!

The University of Leicester doesn’t allow first year PhD students to teach undergraduates in tutorials, so sadly I won’t get to do that this year but I’m hoping to get to teach on a module called ‘Barbarism and Civilisation: Medieval and Early Modern Europe‘ next year. We’ll see. But, what I did get to do yesterday, and which was fab, was to attend a workshop on teaching, where we got to talk extensively with other PhD students who are ahead of us and teaching, about their experiences, and their tips, techniques, and tactics.We talked through all kinds of things, I found out exactly what they (we) get when we sign up to teach on a module like that, we’re not just pushed in the direction of undergrads and told “go teach!” (thankfully!). Each tutorial has an assigned, core reading, specific objectives, linked essay titles and the module as a whole has overall aims, which we need to bear in mind when devising our lesson plans. It’s very much up to us how we get our students there. It’s clear that there’s a huge learning curve for us the first year we do it, but as we work, we can experiment with different teaching styles (I really liked the sound of the mad professor style one person the fabulous Jennie Brosnan described – I wish I’d had her as a teacher five years ago!) and we can experiment with different teaching activities, different room set ups. It’s very clear that teaching is, to a certain extent, an art that is learned through experience, and for that reason, this workshop is so important – because it wasn’t just a workshop where the learners listened to the more experienced and went away to try to put it into practice.

The second part of the workshop saw us paired up with one of these advanced students, who will mentor us through the next batch of teaching we do. For me, this will be the online moderation I’m doing between now and Christmas with the ‘Making History‘ module, which is a really fun module – I did it myself five years ago when I started my BA. As with the ‘Historical Research Methods’, it’s going to be very interesting to see the same module from the teaching side, rather than the student side.  There’s no requirement in this work to do anything like tutorials or to build lesson plans, but there will be the requirement to gently encourage, to motivate, to try to include people as much as possible – all of which should stand me in good stead when I go on to do the tutorial-type teaching. I can’t wait – and I’m so grateful to have my mentor onboard as well. I’ll be able to bounce thoughts off them as to how I’m doing, and hopefully they, and the process, will help me to grow into the kind of teacher I want to be.

Yesterday was self-reflective in another way; I got to go through a training analysis form with my supervisor. Here, we used the Researcher Development Framework to identify where I need additional training, and ended up with a training plan for the next year. We discussed a number of really exciting possibilities – and I really hope at least one of them actually happens, because it would give tremendous opportunities for my career, would help to raise possibilities for a career outside academia and would look fantastic on my CV. My supervisor raised the point that a huge number of newly minted doctors go on to careers outside academia, and I know from my reading elsewhere that even if ECRs (early career researchers) want to remain within academia, to work in universities as researchers and lecturers, there simply aren’t the positions available for them to do so. Entry level lecturer’s positions are like gold dust…. and the competition to win one is so intense. I thought the AHRC Midlands3Cities competition was intense, but this will be far worse. I know at least two people who are really struggling to get work after graduating. But having said that, I also met one person yesterday who got a permanent job as a lecturer in a university just a year after passing their viva. Much of it seems to be about being in the right place at the right time, with the right qualities, but with odds like these, it’d be daft not to consider how to make the most of opportunities for a career elsewhere. But we’ll see. I’ve at least three years to worry about that!


PhD Induction: the absolute last one… ever

… I hope!

Yesterday we had the final inductions, the College of Social Science, Arts and Humanities (CSSAH) induction, and the AHRC Midlands3Cities students were pulled out in the middle of that to have our own induction. By my count, that made induction number five, not counting mini ones like induction to the library, etc. Fortunately the people who make up the welcoming team seem aware of the fact that we’ve been more than thoroughly inducted and welcomed, and even made a joke of it yesterday. One brave soul, who has a foot in two different departments, admitted to enduring 7 inductions!

The CSSAH session was useful – they handed round a sheet that asked us to think about different positions with regard to managing the supervisory relationship between supervisor and researcher, and then to discuss with our nearest neighbour in twos. One useful thing that came out of that discussion was to consider numbering our drafts in the same way that software programme designers number theirs: for major changes, number them by 1, 2, 3 etc., for minor changes, number them by 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, etc [the amusing part was when we both turned to each other and said at the same time, ‘write that down’!]. I also thought about making meta notes: making a note of where things are, a sort of overview document of not only WHAT kind of documentation and files I have, but how they are stored, where, the sub-files, etc. Those who have never studied at this level may be thinking I’m ever so slightly nuts, but yes: That much paperwork DOES get generated and its important to keep ontop of it all, keep it sorted out.

We then went onto the M3C session, where we met the Leicester site directors, three students who have preceeded us in the programme and who gave us tips, and we talked through some of the requirements that M3C have of us. What was most useful for me was meeting the person who is responsible for approving my communication support expenditure; putting a face to a name is always good. While we’ll sit down for a more in-depth chat at the end of October, it was good to do some preliminary chatting and agreement on practices to get me through the next few weeks.

The inductions weren’t the only event we had yesterday. Class 2 of the Research Design and Practice module took place in the morning, with lots of heavy discussion on formulating research questions. The group work made me realise that I had taken slightly for granted that there would be one particular kind of primary source evidence in existence, and that I didn’t really know what to find in answer to the question that I was posing for part of my research. This is something that needs to be addressed, fairly quickly I think, and possibly brought up with my supervisors for discussion in November. Having said that, I’m not worried about this. Even if it turns out that the primary source evidence that I had assumed did exist, doesn’t, then it’s not an insurmountable problem: the absence of evidence/material is something every researcher has to learn how to deal with/handle sooner or later. It’s not the absolute disaster that it may otherwise appear on first sight – and in some respects, it’s something I’ve already had to deal with. My first ever article (written from the research I did for my undergraduate dissertation), on the battle at Cursneh Hill, grew partially out of a lacunae in the primary source evidence, as it forced me to look elsewhere to understand not only the gaps in the evidence, but also the impact of the event that I was seeing in evidence much, much later.

The end of induction certainly does not mean that the uni is now shooing us out into the world to toddle off and research alone like good little doctoral students. The Research Design and Practice class is running till the end of term (before Christmas), and I think there may be a subsequent module to run after Christmas to the Easter break; I have the beginning of a two-part course on history teaching and training starting tomorrow and a brief meeting with my primary supervisor to discuss training needs; and an event at Nottingham Uni next Tuesday which may give me the opportunity to try something I’ve long wanted to do. In between those, I’ve lots to research, as I said before, I have a historiographical review essay on C17th Herefordshire to write and an abstract for a conference. The abstract is coming together in my mind, and I’ve made a few brief notes on that, so I know how I’m going to approach it. I’ve a huge stack of articles that I’ve printed out to read for the historiographical review, so there’s lots to do! In some respects, Induction really doesn’t represent what a PhD is like for a student, in that there’s far more socialising, networking and talking than normally happens (I think, usually, that the life of a PhD student can be quite isolating). Which is why New History Lab is so important. Their next meeting is on Friday, and I’m baking…. I’ve promised to bring along a batch of the infamous cookies from my supervision, so Thursday evening I’ll be batch-baking those. I just hope I don’t end up with a soggy bottom or a Mary Berry glare of doom!!

PhD induction: Graduate School Induction

The last, but one, of the PhD induction events was today. At this point, it’s perhaps starting to drag a little, as one of my new friends said to me this afternoon. And there’s one more to go to! But for all that it was fun and I did get some information from it, so it wasn’t a total bust.

But I’m getting in advance of myself. I headed into uni early, after dropping off my partner at the station – parking at the Uni of Leicester is a nightmare at the moment (thanks to building works in the nearest car park) and getting there early to find parking is a must. While eating breakfast there I was thinking about the trip to the University of Nottingham campus yesterday and how you experience space without a map, and perceptions of space around us, how we move through it, experience it. Does space feel larger when you walk it as opposed to driving it, and when you only see part of the space? Do we overdefine spaces by boundaries in modern life, compared to our early modern or medieval predecessors who lived, largely, without maps? Is the way that we perceive and imagine space different to those early modern predecessors? I cannot help but think that we must do, because so much of our lives today are shaped by having a perceptual, overhead and map-like vision of the spaces that we move through. Who here hasn’t googled their house, understood a place that they were about to visit through google maps? Is it a common ability, now, to be able to remember what we see via digital maps, to relate where we are on the ground to an imagined mental map of the space around us? Even in a pre-digital age, I remember pouring over maps, learning to mapread, to understand the spaceand the world we live in, in relation to other spaces that we cannot yet necessarily experience because we haven’t been there. We live in a connected world – quite literally. We understand how Leicester is connected to Nottingham, the spaces that we have to move through to go from A to B. In today’s world, we can – through maps, through google, visualise the next bit of space that we can’t necessarily see, without having actually been there. In the medieval period, when people undertook pilgrimmages, maps could simply be a route, a series of places that one had to go through to go from A to B. So if I was in a small village outside Ludlow, going to pilgrimmage at Canterbury, to the Shrine of Thomas Becket, then my route map might be – small village-Ludlow-Hereford-Cheltenham-Oxford-London-Canterbury. But that’s not a direct route, not the shortest one, just the simplest one, in that there would be something like a road, a route, with signposts and people to direct you on your way. There was no need to percieve, to understand spaces in the same way that we do now. I think we’ve lost, almost, a sense of adventure, in our digital, mapped world. But then, medieval and early modern people would have totally understood and known, in a very deep and full way, their locality, their parish, the areas around them. Modern people would struggle to do this, I think. I’m a historian and I have no idea where, for example, on a very simple level, the parish boundaries are for my home. But 500 years ago people did need to know – the knowledge was imposed on them, they would ‘beat the bounds’, walk around the edge of their parishes, so that they knew, to the last inch, where their parish ended and someone else’s began. They knew where the boggy bits were in winter, where the best wild strawberries grew, where the worst wild apples were that were really only good for pigs. They understood where the safest crossing place was for a river. In short, their perception of the world, the knowledge that they considered important to know abour their locality, their imagined space, is totally different to ours. Does this mean that their world was more defined than ours? Or just defined differently? Interesting questions, all, and totally outside of my sphere of research. (and one of my former lecturers, if he was ever to read this, would probably slap his hand against his forehead and start muttering about why I didn’t think all about this during the MA….!)

After breakfast – both physical food and thinking – this morning was spent in the library. I had intended to start the bibliographic search for the positioning essay that I have to do, and I did start that, after sending rather a lot of emails (trying to sort out too much at the moment I think). In history lit reviews – at least, the ones focused on British or Irish history – one of the best places to start is BBIH, the Bibliography of British and Irish History, which is a massive database of all publications on British or Irish history, regardless of whether it’s a book or an article. Its got a powerful search tool, and to begin with I just typed in ‘Herefordshire’ and the beginning and end dates of my search period. The results were interesting and have suggested some books and articles that I need to follow up on. But what was really startling was the first result – my own name! It’s very disconcerting, seeing your name and work pop up like that when you’re not expecting it – it quite threw me for a moment. And then I did the inevitable screen grab and sent it to my mum. (Doesn’t everyone do that?)

After noting down a few books, chasing a publisher, and suggesting a book to the library for the ‘more books!’ campaign, it was time to grab a quick lunch and then head off to the Graduate School Induction. This started with a brief introductory talk from the Graduate Dean, then was followed by another brief talk on managing the student-supervisor relationship. After that we broke into groups and discussed our three biggest concerns/worries, that we had to write onto post-it notes. I got to meet some more new people, including one very nice physics student that I had a lovely chat with afterwards. My three biggest concerns were:

  1. the question of whether I should bother my supervisor with something minor (we get told so much about ‘look in the handbook! the answer’s in the handbook!’ and tales of students asking where they can find things that they’ve been told so many times before in class. All that does have an impact and I’m one of these people that prefers to be self-reliant rather than bother someone else. If anything I probably carry that too far in the wrong direction and struggle on alone when I shouldn’t.
  2. Organisation. Not of admin, or my time, but of my resources, making sure that I’ve checked every single place that I should be checking for something, checked every single available possible resource. I shamelessly borrowed this from something a friend said, they were worried about organisation in a slightly different way but in discussing it in the break, I realised that they were tapping into something that had been nagging away in the back of my brain (thank you to the friend – yes, you know who you are!).
  3. Not being good enough. I struggle with imposter syndrome and, yes, I worry that one day, I won’t be good enough. I’ve invested so much into this, emotionally, that I think if that day ever came, it might just break me. I’m really not sure how I would handle that and I think it’s something I do need to consider, not because I’m anticipating being not good enough any time soon,but because, inevitably, at some point, I will stop. Even if I continue to learn, continue to write, one day my brain will stop or just be unable to the kind of mental processing that I need it to do and I may have to live with the consequences of that.

Boy. That last one was dark! I didn’t think about it that way when I was writing it on the post-it note, but yes, that last one is definitely a big worry and probably one that many people share as well. No answers to that one but the rest of the induction was filled with advice – advice for mental health, wellbeing, information on the student’s union, various training courses that are available to us. So much to consider, to think about. It’s almost overwhelming.

The next – and absolute last (I think) – PhD induction session is on Monday, which is the College of Social Science, Arts and Humanities induction. It should be interesting, and comes straight after a class on Research Design and Practice, so another very long day. Tomorrow is lunch with a friend, fitted around more historiographical lit review research, from home this time. I did my MA dissertation at the same time as this friend did theirs, so the lunch tomorrow is in the nature of a ‘hooray, we made it!’ celebration lunch! Should be fun and I’m really looking forward to a good catch up. Not going to blog tomorow – well, not unless I have any major breakthroughs in the lit review!


The First Supervision


the infamous cookies

You might think, since I’ve been quiet in blog land for the last two days, that I’ve been enjoying time off. Not a bit of it (although I will be taking next weekend off). I’ve spent the last two days nose to the computer keyboard, plugging solidly away. Part of the reason for that was the decision to hold my very first supervision meeting today, with all three of my supervisors (And while who they are is a matter of public record, I do believe in respecting their privacy, so I won’t mention them much, or by name). I have three, by the way, because when I was considering the team and my proposed project, I felt strongly that I needed an additional voice to help guide the archaeological elements that are included in the project, as well as the other two who are more focused on the documentary side of things.

This morning I was nervous, I freely admit. Daft, perhaps, but I was. Supervision meetings were new to me, and it’s not like anyone can really tell you what they’re like as they’re highly individual to the person being supervised, as well as to the supervisors themselves. I am lucky in that I know one of my supervisors fairly well – he supervised my MA dissertation. But that doesn’t negate feelings of nerves. I always want to do well, and the first meeting is important. First impressions and all that.

We went for lunch beforehand, with another PhD student. It was good to see more of the University of Nottingham’s lovely campus. Very different to Leicester – much bigger grounds – and the views are quite amazing. This is one part of the AHRC Midlands3Cities partnership that I really do like, the opportunity to visit other universities, to see different campuses and set ups. That broadening of experience is something that can only stand me in good stead, I think, in future, and prevents a certain insular perspective. It’s good to break out of the same places, the same routines and experience new things, both on a personal and a professional level.

The supervision itself went well, I think. I took cookies! I think they were appreciated (I’m taking something else next time. Don’t know what yet. We’re meeting before lunch, so I have to think imaginatively, perhaps). It seemed to set the tone for what I thought was a nice, relaxed meeting, with some laughter and some seriousness. I had some good news about my dissertation results (unofficial, so not saying anything here till it is official!) and I’ve been set an assignment to do for the next supervision, a 3,000 word essay on the historiography of Herefordshire. It’s one of the ‘positioning’ essays that they want me to write between now and Easter, there’ll be three or four of them, and it should be fun. I’m itching to get my teeth into it – and I may start researching that tomorrow. I’ve also got an abstract to write, for a CfP (call for papers – basically an application to speak at a conference), so that’s exciting too!

Tomorrow: I’m on Leicester campus all day – in the library in the morning, digging into that essay, and in the afternoon I’ll be attending the graduate school induction. Should be fun. Fingers crossed I make good progress with the research!

PhD Induction: Last Day

Day five of PhD induction week, the last day, was a pretty good day. We had a fantastic – and well attended – talk from one of the school’s professors on ‘getting an article published’. The professor explained some really useful things such as like why we have two standards of Open Access publishing, the differences between them, and what it means for us as would-be publishers. It’s made me realise how fortunate I was with the editor of the journal that pubished my first article, how patient he was with me (and I still got two free print copies of the journal, which, according to the talk yesterday, just doesn’t happen any more). I think it helped a great deal that the professor themselves was the editor of a journal so was able to explain things from an editor’s perspective, and also explain the reasons for some of the time lag between submission and getting an answer from the journal (acceptance, rejection, etc) and what’s going on behind the scenes that we just don’t see – and how long we should be leaving it before emailing said editor for news. And, too, there was advice on rejections, how to handle them, the admission that everyone gets rejected, and that you must not take it personally – even the professor gets rejected every once in a while! It was a great talk and what I really loved was the professor’s enthusiasm for their subject. They’re clearly a person that still loves their job, their history, and its so good to see people at the top who don’t have that world-weary, institutionally-battered cynicism. I don’t know about anyone else but it gives me hope for the future.

The second event of the day was an introduction to library services. Lots of info about what our library has within its glass walls, the special collections, how to use the library search, all that kind of thing. You might think, as a long-term Leicester resident, that I’d have skipped this session. Not a bit of it! A lot of what was said I knew (and could chip in useful info) but at the University of Leicester, Library Services are continually working to improve and develop the services they offer and its important to keep on top of these changes.

The third event was the long-awaited New History Lab! The first session of the semester is always well attended as it’s officially part of induction week and people show up to find out what it’s all about. Put simply; it’s a history postgrad community run by postgrads, involves tea and cake and a seminar and then they all troop off to the pub. I say ‘they’ cos I usually have to scarper to collect my partner from the station at just that point, unfortunately, but hopefully one day I’ll be able to go to the pub with them! The chair of NHL presented a short briefing on ‘ten things we wish we’d known when we started our postgrad courses’, with some real nuggets of information. Even things like ‘use social media – with caution’ [ahem!], and that is absolutely correct, of course. I do remember the same talk being presented two years ago when I started my MA and looking back, I did take the tips onboard, perhaps subconsciously, because I did find them useful over the years – and I’m sure I will continue to remember them in future. Many of them are very commonsense ones, no-brainers, almost, but if you ARE completely new to an institution or to postgrad study it is so very easy to miss things, especially in a week like this when so much information is thrown at you. We had a fun quiz after. I’m sad to say I didn’t get the much coveted prize (chocolate!). Maybe next year! Many of the attendees were existing postgrads of one kind or another, so not everyone was new and it was a really good mix of old lags and newcomers to the university. I’m looking forward to the next!

Overview of the week and other thoughts: Continue reading