It all comes at once; emails from staff telling me where to turn up and what to prepare, a psuedo-friendly email from finance reminding me I’ll need to stump up the remainder of my course fees and the nagging feeling there is something you should have done for class X. Personally I’m getting to the bit of my course I’ve been really looking forward too. Completing a degree by research gives you a lot of freedom compared with a traditionally taught MA although it comes with its own challenges. This semester I’ll be writing a literature review of my subject area which, as well as being an interesting exercise in its own right is going to be an opportunity to get myself into the right academic “shape”. It’s going to be the academic equivalent of Rocky thumping pig carcasses and running up the steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. See here if you’ve no idea what I’m talking about. I would also stress I don’t have a mullet.
I’ve also been thinking about the other things you do whilst studying. Its a mantra you hear from the academic staff all the time at whatever level you study at:
“It is not enough just to have a BA/MA/PhD; you need to have done other stuff as well in order to stand out.”
With that in mind I’ve started thinking where I can make connections with other people who share my research interests. I’ve signed up with Academia.edu; it is a bit like LinkedIn for academics. It is a great place to find all sorts of papers and talks on a variety of subjects and to find academics you might want to work with in the future. There is not universal usage of the site amongst academics at Leicester but I managed to stalk … sorry, follow a few as well as others who I know from other institutions whose research I’m interested in.
Finally, I’m getting involved with New History Lab here at Leicester, in fact I’ve been invited to give a talk on the 31st January. For that I’ll be going back to what I do during the day and talking about digital humanities. I can promise you that the talks are of exceptional quality (mine might be an abberation in that regard however) and I’d recommend them to students of any discipline. Moreover the history is prefixed with cake and suffixed with the pub. What is not to love?
Here’s hoping to new academic year treats you well; best of luck to those of you with exams!