PhD Blogs – November 2017 (Month 2)

redd-angelo-41838.jpgThis month has been a little crazy, hence the late posting of this blog. I have attended a crazy amount of classes to help provide the information and guidance I need to make the most out of my PhD journey and most of them have been incredibly helpful and relevant.

In total I attended 22 PGR classes this month and even when the courses were regarding things I haven’t even had a chance to think about yet, I found them incredibly insightful and helpful as it has helped shape my expectations and understand the expectations others have for me.

One of the courses was on ‘the impact of your research, was really insightful and lead me to create my own impact model as I realised that none of the examples shown really encapsulated what my research hopes to achieve. I realised that my research seemed to spread across a lot of different areas covered in other models, but not all. So I created my own impact model and I called it PASTE. Full blog can be found here.

The ‘Academic Writing’ course was incredibly insightful, I learnt that I do almost all things mentioned as bug bares for invigilators and I know now that I definitely have a weakness area that needs to be improved – I will never be more scared of a naked “they“ in my thesis, attendees will understand what I’m talking about here! I definitely recommend attending.

Postgraduate funding – This is something I admit I attended out of curiosity but got a wealth of great advice about options available to me that I didn’t know were possible, I’m implementing their advice as we speak!

Assertiveness for Effectiveness – As someone who has been accused of being blunt on many occasions I did not realise ever think this was going to be an issue for me. However now I can easily understand how I can be easily distracted by debate and politeness and it really is absolutely unnecessary in so many situations that just take away from my happiness in the end. Some people aren’t worth fighting with. This is another work in progress.

I had additional IT training sessions in Word document, and Excel documents from the IT team, which were so much more helpful and insightful that I initially thought they would be. I recently completed my ECDL Level 2 and this had more hints and tips that will actually be usable in the future of both my PhD and my career in general. There were so many times I literally held my head in my hands remembering all the times I had done something the long way around when there was a simple shortcut available at the end of my fingertips! I definitely recommend attending to anyone regardless of your level of understanding using Microsoft packages.

Time management skills for PGR’s – I learnt a lot of new skills in the session and I have used the information and advice provided more than I initially thought that I would. There is something really valuable in learning to fit work around my life for a better work/life balance.

Presentation masterclass part one – due to a sleepy brain I forgot about the second part of this class and had not put it in my calendar. I wish I had attended the second part as the first was so insightful. It will definitely change how I present work in future.

Technical English – I did not learn a great amount in the actual class due to low attendance but I learnt about the Manchester phrasebook which will help to develop a more accurate writing style in future.

Career planning for PGR’s – I learnt how to create effective applications including how to adapt my CV for the needs of the postgraduate roles and find the secrets to success in a job specification. I’m still working on the information I learnt during this class and I think it will take a while for me to master this skill and probably more advice from the careers team. There’s something I find really awkward about bigging up my own achievements.

Informed researcher – this included talks about managing my academic profile, unfortunately at this stage I don’t have anything to manage! Though I am working on something for publishing at the moment.

I have also been attending the UAE Online Webinars for PGR’s, though I won’t list them out as this blog is already more of a list than an insight into my PGR. However, I do absolutely recommend this to anyone to brush up on their skills whilst doing a masters or PhD. My confidence in the direction and elements of my PhD have been greatly effected as a result of attending these Webinars.

I started writing a new research diary to keep all my thoughts in throughout my PhD journey, whilst making my new diary I looked to my old ones and saw that an idea I had in 2012 still held potential value. I mentioned this to my primary researcher and ended up in a very productive meeting with both supervisors and adviser talking through the concept and its viability.

I attended a cyber security GDPR training session that was held at the 3M building on campus, I definitely learnt a lot from a law perspective and was surprised about the amount of work that needs to be finalised on this front. I definitely did not feel that I was alone in not feeling like I had fully grasped all the parts of GDPR and looked into future training as a result.

I started a new freelancing role for a content creation company based in Huddersfield, it’s great to continue working in both cybersecurity and marketing during my PhD and I hope to do it throughout as it allows me to keep my brain active and keep on top of marketing trends that affect cyber security.

I also sneakily featured in growth business, something I found out about later on in the month.

I enjoyed a break in Brussels for a couple of days with my partner and got to explore the city and taste the (AMAZING) food! More importantly I gave my brain a break from computer screens and gave myself the mental rest necessary to recoup and come back to my PhD work with more enthusiasm than ever.

All in all, it’s been a fantastic and busy month, but I would not have it any other way. I’ll start putting up articles I’ve been writing for various websites when I get a chance! Next month promises to be even more inspiring but with less classes and more time to work on my hopes of publishing within the first 6 months of my PhD.

 

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