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October 02, 2012

A magical metamorphosis?

Over the weekend, there was apparently a small miracle occurring: I was changing from PhD student to research fellow. Naturally, as ever, I gave insufficient thought to this process, and just spent the weekend trying really, really hard not to think about the thesis, which is ever-present and taking up considerable space in my brain. I found pink wine and the company of friends hugely helpful, and came to Warwick yesterday determined to enjoy my new identity for as long as it lasts.

How long it will last is highly debatable, but that's a different story and not one to be told today. So yesterday, I met with my new boss (not new at all - my first academic supervisor for the PhD) and the research fellow whose position I'm covering while she has a baby. The field of research I'm looking at is quite different (elderly care), but it's still NHS, and there are actually a lot of parallels with midwifery (risk and governance), so it's not so strange as it might have been.

Yesterday, I discovered there was an induction session for new WBS employees - I hadn't actually been invited, but I gatecrashed it anyway. On arriving at the WBS building, I discovered that my student ID card no longer let me in. But I don't have an employee ID card yet. I had a proper head-scratching moment, and then went to ask the lovely people in IT support what I should do. I turns out, I don't appear on any systems just now, so I'm in a sort of non-identitied place.

I'm not sure I like this: according to the Graduate School, I'm still a PhD student because I'm writing up. And the WBS doctoral office obviously agree, given that they haven't turfed me out of my office. But according to WBS, I'm now an employee. I have a new ID number and everything! Only they haven't quite managed to get all the necessary paperwork sorted in time for the October 1st start.

It's a strange place, this land of in-between-ness, but quite a familar one. After all, I've just spend three years being in between midwifery and academia, so I expect that's why I feel quite chilled about the whole thing.

So the lovely IT people have made my student card work again, and I'm just off now to pick up my staff card. Who shall I be today? I think I'll stick with student for now. I feel more comfortable there. And besides, I'm not brave enough to actually go into the staff lounge in the WBS building. It's full of grown ups.


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