This has been a week filled with extra activities, on top of my normal working week I’ve had two trips to A&E (not for me!), one assessment centre, one careers in journalism event (a separate post coming soon) and one very busy Saturday buying crutches and knee braces while also preparing a course for year 12 students and finally finishing off this weeks blog post. So let me explain:
Wednesday night after staying late for the careers in journalism event I was on the train home when I got a message “I think you might need to take me to the hospital”, my boyfriend had managed to injure his knee playing football. Cue taxi home from the station followed by a 2 hour trip to A&E to get an X-Ray, a diagnosis of no broken bones and unhelpfully no crutches. Friday morning it was off to our local doctor who informed us that crutches should’ve been given at A&E and to return when the swelling had gone down, in the meantime buy a knee brace for support. Right, back to A&E. I massively appreciate the NHS and the services it provides and while my boyfriend was seen quickly the staff refused to give him any crutches (for context he currently can’t put any weight on his left leg and is hopping everywhere 4 days after the injury!). So today I went and bought a knee brace from Boots and then popped to my local mobility shop and actually purchased a pair of crutches for a very reasonable £26. We just couldn’t face wasting our Saturday morning sitting in the same A&E unit and potentially being sent away without crutches again. Unfortunately his injury means he can’t help around the house at all so all shopping, cooking and cleaning is on my shoulders, I don’t mind, I want him to rest and feel better, but with a very full week it has been a little exhausting. I’ve been very thankful for the flexibility of a PhD though, which has meant I’ve been able to play chauffeur but not take any time off, I’ve just worked later in the evenings.
The assessment centre
Don’t worry I haven’t decided to throw in the towel on my PhD and start applying for graduate jobs just yet! I was at an assessment centre for the Brilliant club. A couple of weeks ago I went to a talk from Tom Wilks who works for the Brilliant Club. This is an amazing charity that puts PhD students into schools to teach courses, based on their own research, to students, with the aim of widening access to top Universities by providing students with more opportunities and skills. There were a lot of people at the talk, I definitely hadn’t been expecting as many (and secretly thought “damn more competition!” 😛 ) and I don’t think Tom was either! At the talk we were told if we wanted to teach in the next round of placements (June-Sept 2014) for Year 12 students we should get an application in within the next week. 😮 Ready, set, go! OK so before that one week deadline I managed to fill in the application form and send it off along with a copy of my CV, that was the 15th April, on the 17th April I got an email inviting me to an assessment centre on the 29th April, step 1 success! I was warned about the assessment centre at the original talk so was prepared for it. It wasn’t your typical assessment centre with numerical reasoning tests etc. instead it involved a group activity, a short scenario based interview, a mini-lesson and a reflection on how well you think that mini-lesson went.
The only part I could really prepare for was the mini-lesson. This was intended to be 8 minutes and aimed at 2 assessors playing the role of high performing 14 year old students, and they played their roles well! As soon as my time began they morphed into perfect representations of 14 year olds and if they had been wearing actual school uniforms I could even visualise them hiding their phones in the sleeves of their jumpers in the same way I did when I was at school. I didn’t manage to cover everything I intended in my 8 minutes, but I imagine a lot of people don’t! The “students” ask a lot more questions then you prepare for, but this does make it more realistic. The next morning I woke up to find two emails from the Brilliant Club, one from Tom (who I had previously heard speak) and another from Chantal (another one of the assessors) letting me know I’d been successful! Talk about a quick response! So it’s now all guns blazing, preparing an outline of my course by Monday, so Brilliant Club staff can provide feedback on it before the training days we have next weekend. On 10th/11th May all the tutors are being gathered together for training on how best to design and deliver our courses. I’m excited, it’s going to be a great chance to meet loads of new PhD students, and I’m sure if I pretend I’m one of those confident, talk to anyone types and don’t hide behind my phone then people will actually think I am one, fingers crossed. As I design more of my course I’ll post more about it and how it’s going, as well as posting about the Brilliant Club in general. I think I’m going to love it, but I have agreed with my supervisor we’ll assess at the end of the first module how much of my time it’s taking up. That does always have to be a consideration when you’re doing a PhD, but I’m confident I can balance it all, especially as there are no undergraduates to demonstrate for over the summer months. So with my security check started, my tutor biography and other personal information forms completed and my placement school decided all that’s left for me to do is finish this course outline… time to get moving.