This month was busy, so prepare yourself for a long post!

July starts with attending “HudCres – In Conversation”, not only was this event massively insightful about other work and research being conducted in the education school, it also helped to inform me about problems with communicating new research around children to teachers and educators. There were also some great points raised around cybersecurity and the education of children through the use of books.

Here’s a spoiler alert – some of those books were absolutely horrendous! Some of them had little to no understanding of cybersecurity and others would achieve nothing but terrifying a child. Others had no consideration for the child reading age and others had no appeal at all to their audience.

I also sat on a table and was grouped with a woman who did not believe in educating children about cyber security and that they should ask her if they want to know anything. This wasn’t an opinion I thought existed in today’s age so I found her opinion on the topic really interesting. I debated with her about the potential dangers this lack of education puts her children in but she could not be swayed from her stance, stating ‘my children would never do anything like that’.

I also had my first annual review for my research, I was a bit of a babbling mess if I’m honest and I fumbled my way through the oral presentation passionately. The feedback I got included the slimming down of my research to look at becoming more focused and to discuss some issues further with experts. Due to the application build falling through I was looking at alternative data collection options. I will be taking into account everything that was said and using it to make my research stronger. I passed my review thankfully, though for the most part positive, I did take some down time to absorb their feedback and consider my next steps thoroughly.

I also attended my friend’s graduation and it felt weird to be sat in the audience witnessing the whole event again. Bizarre to think that I will potentially be doing this again myself in a few years as a Doctor.

I also heard the current president of Huddersfield SU talk of his steps into Higher Education during the ceremony and found out that we had similar experiences of leaving secondary education early. He’s also doing a PhD with the university so it’s great to see other people in similar positions doing well and weirdly I was overwhelmed with happiness and hope that there will be more people like us who took the scenic route into Higher Education.

It also made me feel a moment of pride as I realised it truly is a miracle that I’m in this position, the support network he spoke of during his speech didn’t exist for me. Yet, I still made it here by determination and hard work. I have a support network of people around me now that a younger version of me would never believe could exist. I wish I could go back in time and tell her that she will meet some people who love her and support her she always wanted.

Non-PhD related news… I met one of my personal heroes! Matt Haig. He’s an author of many wonderful books but one that will always be close and dear to my heart “Reasons to Stay Alive”. This book saved my life and gave me some new perspectives on my depression and heartache. I gift it often to others, I feel like I should have a shelf dedicated to it at home, I’ve bought the book possibly 6 times now and given away my copy. I have a feeling I will re-read this book regularly when I need comfort through the years. Matt was on his book tour of the country and I booked to see him speak in Leeds. Later he signed my copy of “Notes on a Nervous Planet” and we discussed briefly how the book helped me. He asked about my research as he had developed an interest around the anxieties placed on children who are navigating the online environment, I think I babbled a lot here too. Ha.

In other absolutely wonderful but crazy news – I got an email stating I had been shortlisted for the an award from Forward Ladies for ‘A Rising Star in STEM’ in Yorkshire, North East & Scotland. The awards ceremony will be in a few months!

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