My (nearly) Year of Blogging
When I came to Warwick, as a loner (my teenager's expression), I knew precisely two peple, and one of them was my supervisor. I found my way to the Research Exchange almost by accident, and had a lovely chat with Fiona Colligan (head honcho). About ten minutes later, I had agreed to write for the PhD Life blog, which was then in its infancy. My first post appeared in April of last year, so I'm not quite at my first birthday, but hey, this is a week for celebrating the blog, so I thought I'd share the beautiful benefits I've found through blogging during my almost-year.
Firstly, it's given me an outlet for the random, and not so random, thoughts that pop into my head as I go about my PhD existence. Looking back, it seems I've actually been keeping something of a field diary here, but I've also written quite a lot about the day to day existence. For me, this is a happy combination, as it represents exactly how my mind works - I will be simultaneously thinking about methodology, participants, themes, baking, and the children's activities on any given day. Usually in some weird ball-of-wool combination.
The other thing about writing my thoughts down is the opportunity to write in a style that I enjoy. Academic writing is something I can do, I just don't love it like I love writing silly things. I'm now considering putting some of my posts into my thesis, as it would be an ideal way for something of 'me' to leak into the serious business of passing a viva.
Secondly, it's been an utterly brilliant way to discover the truth of PhD students: we all seem to worry about similar things, no matter what discipline we come from. When I look back through my own and others' posts, there are some definite themes recurring: surpervision, methodology issues, writing, presenting, FEAR...
And thirdly, I've met some brilliant people along the way. My fellow bloggers, who have supported my writing and general musings, the Research Exchange staff, who always make such lovely comments, and complete strangers from within and outside the university. It's amazing to realise that the words I write can resonate with others, and apart from that, it's been fun (in a weird way) to have people say, 'Oh, you're Bernie from the blog, aren't you?'
So here's to the next year of blogging. To anyone considering blogging, I'd say do it! This is a supportive and active platform if you've got things you want to put out there, and besides, you never know how much you might enjoy the simple act of writing STUFF that isn't necessarily a thesis!
And a huge thank you to Anna (the editor) and Fiona, for giving me the chance to discover just how much I LOVE WRITING!
Also this year, I plan to learn how to put pictures into the blog in a neater and better formatted way (yes, Luke, just for you!)