Dear Doctorate – Year two, week two and three

Published on Friday 26th October 2018 by DJ Kirkby

Dear Doctorate Diary (I hope you’re sitting comfortably because this is a long one)

As you know, I am due to head to Canada for a work conference mid Nov. I haven’t renewed my Canadian passport since the 90s because I just used my British passport to travel to Canada to see family. I couldn’t see the point of having two passports when I haven’t lived or worked in Canada since the 90s and had no intention of ever moving back to Canada. Last week when I applied for my eTA and it was rejected 😱…turns out that the Canadian government has decided that all Canadians must travel into Canada with a Canadian passport – even if they have dual citizenship somewhere else! So now I need to urgently travel to the Canadian Consulate in London to sort out a Canadian passport or some sort of permission to travel to Canada with a British passport. Only problem is (besides having no time for a jaunt to London) is that they are only open between 9.30 -12.30 AND THE TRAIN COMPANIES ARE STRIKING today when he had planned to go! So plan is to now go on Monday – I’ve booked a day of holiday from work so fingers crossed the trains are running by then. 

All in all it’s really not been a great couple of months – it’s not just the hurdles to get to Canada for this work conference:

  • My last tutorial (the one at the October residential) was a bit odd. I was trying to explain to the tutors why it was important that I run my pilot on healthcare students so that I knew the survey questions were worded correctly for healthcare students as that is who I am doing research with. However, the students only start at certain times of the year and the research has to slot into the correct time of their curriculum so that it dovetails their learning between theory and clinical practice. One of the tutors kept trying to convince me that it didn’t matter who I tested the survey questions on as long as it was tested. It was quite difficult for me to try to explain the importance of using healthcare students and why they were different to non healthcare students in respect of my research.  And, that the curriculum and their accelerated speed of learning is very different to other students. She got shouty for a bit and said if I didn’t cooperate then I might as well pack in doing my doctorate. I felt like crying all the way back to the train station. It keeps playing on my mind because no student who consistently works hard, submits on time and performs passably should feel that way after a meeting with tutors. A tutorial should be a meeting of minds and a way to agree next steps. That unpleasant tutorial nearly turned the doctorate switch to OFF for me! One of my cohort had a similar experience with this tutor and has spoken to the programme lead about it. Obviously she thinks I should do the same, but I can’t help but feel I should be able to fight my own battles at my age.
  • Also I am still working all of the hours which leaves no time for writing my doctorate assignment unless I stop spending time with my family / marathon training / sleeping.
  • My next assignment is due mid Dec and I have written less than 500 words out of a required total of 5000.
  • My husband’s health continues to decline and the number of specialists he has to see increases –  we have always gone to any appointment with a specialist together (if at all possible) as these is highly stressful and not something we believe either of us should endure alone. Currently he’s on the TWW pathway so all procedures fall into the space before I leave for Canada for the week so I at least feel I am able to support my darling husband to some extent though some pretty unpleasant procedures and anxious times.
  • My stepmother has had to begin putting my father into respite due to ravages of dementia.
  • My beloved grandmother died in September, and I miss her wise counsel.

I really don’t know what to do for best but, dear doctorate….it’s probably not you that’s the problem, it’s me.

Week two and three in review: read week one by clicking here
Publishable doctorate words writtenVirtual health education: scaling practice to transform student learning article has been made available online by Nurse Education Today – click here for more info. Future Technologies Conference 2018 article NoObesity Apps – from approach to finished app has been accepted for publication.   I’ve finished the draft of the second CILVRS article so I need to send it to co-authors for their comment  / contribution.
Doctorate assignment words written – Not enough!
Cups of tea drunk –  Lost count, tea is so perfect, more tea please.
Miles run – 16 including the Great South Run with my vegan runner pals
Kilometers swam -Zero
Miles cycled -Zero
Cakes baked –   (see photo at end of post).
Crafting  done- Knitting on pause during this hot weather
Books read for pleasure – The Plus One, Falling For You   (see 2018 reading page for link to book reviews)
Books read for doctorate – None this week
Movies / videos watched for doctorate – The 100, VR expansion capability of eye tracking,
Articles read for doctorate – None this week.
Blogs read for doctorate – None this week
Research undertaken –  32 students recruited, 13 responses to pre-VRLE use survey so far
Meetings with doctorate supervisors – none this week
Meetings with ALN / LD support – Missed their deadline so I’ll be going this assignment alone (the horror!).
Average level of guilt felt when trying to squeeze doctorate days in work diary – so busy at work that I haven’t even bothered.
Overall average stress level – excessive
Average success rate – poor

Plan for next week:

  • Wait for husband’s results from ENT investigations (CT scan on 3rd Nov), referral to another neurologist for second opinion on diagnosis (pending) and for appointment with Hepatologist (28th November).
  • Write more of assignment 4
  • Enrol research participants onto pilot VRLE
  • Workworkworkwork
  • Send draft of 2nd CILVRS article for comment to person who will be coauthor
  • Bake
  • Enjoy Grandson sleepovers
  • Ramp up the miles following my marathon training plan
  • Read for pleasure
  • Have a life (hahahahahaha)

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