Well I've finished my first academic year at Warwick though I'll start the second year still as a first year! So I guess it's naturally a time for reflection but also looking forward to what the next year will bring.
Thinking about my first day at Warwick, it was nearly as nerve-racking as my first day as an undergraduate student 25 years ago - not knowing anyone, the campus or what the study would entail; only this time I also had to work out how I was going to achieve any kind of balance between full-time work and part-time study.
I can't say that I've managed to get the balance right between work and study and with the nature of my work, I can't see that changing any time soon. So instead of being able to have a regular consistent focus on study, it's more an intermittent approach with concentrated bursts of activity. I know that will need to change as the years roll on. I had started off with a day/week during the working week devoted to study but that was quickly eroded as my companies took on more work as an economic necessity. I'm already a Co-Director of a consultancy business and I took on another Director role with a new consultantcy business last year - not the best timing in relation to study, but definitely good timing in relation to my professional work.
I'm lucky that I chose a subject that I already know well and am genuinely passionate about, I suspect that I may have given up by now had I been tackling a completely new subject area. It's a natural progression from my Masters dissertation and that has been brilliant grounding for my PhD work.
I am relieved to discover that I'm not that far behind the full-time PhD students in my year. I've done a tranche of writing for which my tutor has given me positive feedback and I've now got the chapter structure in place too. I feel very well supported within the department, not just by my tutor but all the tutors and administration staff, right the way through to the Head of Department. They have been incredibly accommodating in relation to my rather haphazard availability and always make me feel welcome and are genuinely pleased that I have been able to attend additional sessions. I also have a great family and set of friends who rally round and keep up my enthusiasm for my PhD, and my brother/business partner has never faltered in his ongoing support.
Though I've had to delay going on my study trip to the US due to an ever-increasing workload, I am looking forward to spending next term preparing and researching the virtual archives before my trip to the physical archives in January 2014.
I was hoping to spend some of the summer months working on my PhD. That now looks unlikely with an impending festival in the autumn for which I work on the marketing and communications, lots of projects building to their conclusions in September, and a work trip to Australia to give a keynote address at a cultural conference in Queensland on the subject of cultural tourism, plus the opportunity to meet with the Commonwealth Games 2018 cultural programme team (I worked on the North West Cultural Programme for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002). All good experience if I ever get the chance to speak at film related conferences although it's a very different style of presentation. If I'm not too tired I'll try to dedicate some of my flying time to PhD reading rather than just catching up on my paid for work.
I realise that I may start next term feeling a bit rusty and will need to immerse myself in the world of study and film terminology and language again after an enforced break. I'm already earmarking Christmas and New Year as PhD time...