Image by Matthew Henry (via StockSnap.io)
I’m not sure anything has ever made more sense to me that the crazy decision to start studying a PhD. I’m sure, I will look back at this blog later during my many mental breakdowns and laugh and laugh and laugh…
I’m joking (mainly, sort of, do I get to joke about this yet?)
I’ve just finished the first month of my PhD and though I know this is the biggest and best step in my career to date. I have already experienced some of the infamous feelings of impostor syndrome, anxiety, happiness and ‘you got this’ waves of emotions.
The truth is in actuality despite the massive responsibility and the crazy amount of work that lies ahead I have never felt more supported in my career, personal development and education. I’m incredibly lucky to work with the secure societies team at the University of Huddersfield. I have received exceptional support from my supervisors and they have listened, encouraged original idea generation and provided constructive criticism on ideas I have brought to the table so far. I’ve heard other researchers have not been so lucky which means that I will try even harder to honour and be thankful for the weekly meetings, regular updates and communication that allows me to focus on utilising the opportunities that are available to me.
Some of those opportunities have come in the form of writing for the university’s academic website.
Some things I realised in the process of writing the articles
My business/ marketing background provides me with both a fantastic amount of doubt in my ability to do a PhD in computer science and informatics (see above impostor syndrome) and also a completely different skillset to the typical Comp Eng student that I should be thankful and conscious of.
I learn more when I’m writing so it makes sense to start writing now rather than waiting until I’ve read more
People are going to want a bio about me and I don’t know how to pin down who I am in a succinct paragraph yet.
Certain words and phrases I use in my everyday life will become an everyday battle with spellcheckers everywhere (in the world, ever) and yes I mean ‘informatics’ and ‘utilise’ with a ‘s’ (Add’s to dictionary and changes English for the umpteenth time on another hotdesk computer)
Another amazing and insightful opportunity comes with the guidance, free training courses, e-courses and resources provided through the university. Though in the moments leading up to a 7pm – 9pm weekly live e-course I think through a list of excuses of not to attend, however every single time without exception the sessions have been worthwhile. Even if it was just one sentence of information that I would not of known otherwise.
The main thing I have realised through this first month is despite everything I have done and the barriers I have fought through and jumped over to get here, I still have this amazing capacity to underestimate and undervalue myself, my own experiences and my own work.
I am far from the perfect computing student, I feel I could never read enough or do enough to catch up to my peers. Though, I was a very determined business student I was plagued with bad luck and bad choices (bad bosses, terrible rent situations, toxic relationships both romantically and in friendships) and probably most surprising to most people who have met me – I was a high school drop out due to chronic illness and poor personal circumstances. I have had to fight hard to shake the stigma and judgment of that ever since (try explaining the educational/qualificational gap without knocking your own confidence to tatters).
Ten years ago I had to do a test to do a level 1 qualification, I have literally started from the bottom to get here.
I have been doubted and judged harshly for circumstances beyond my control and now I am starting a journey I didn’t dare dream of ten years ago.
It’s probably about time I stopped fighting myself and invested that wasted energy into myself instead.
I’m proud of what I have achieved but it will be nothing in comparison to what is to come.
I am excited, anxious and scared about the future but everything about those feelings is absolutely, undeniably ok.
Onwards and upwards.