Dear Doctorate – Year 3, sometime in the first semester…

Published on Thursday 31st December 2020 by DJ Kirkby

Dear Doctorate Diary

It’s the 31st December 2020, it’s taken me several months to write this one post, and what strange year this has been, though (for me anyway) this year has actually had a balance of negatives and positives.

I’ve been working from home and even longer hours than before due to increasing demands from understandably stressed students. As with any teacher, the student experience is of key importance to me and the long hours will have been worth it if it has made a positive difference to our students.

I’m pleased to say that we were able to convert our teaching to online delivery in a matter of days when the campuses had to close to students in the first national lockdown. The content delivery and assessment really isn’t much different, and in fact has improved in some ways such as the students not being tired from long commutes to campus each day. Also, I have had more time to devote to supporting students because I also do not have a (2 hour each way) commute to the main campus.

My virtual reality learning environments have really come into their own and have offered students a place to have clinical experiences which couldn’t otherwise be guaranteed.

The joys of virtual conferencing has meant that I have been able to present at a few conferences this year and received really good feedback from the audience which has been excellent for my confidence.

My stress levels have been much reduced by not having to work in a noisy open plan office and this has meant a healthy weight loss from the lack of need for stress biscuits (though I may have gained it all back during the festive feeding).

It’s been increasingly difficult to make time for my doctorate research and writing because work has crept into my non working days, but I am hoping I will have more time to write in 2021.

We can’t travel to visit family (near or far) and there is a horrifically infectious version of covid in the UK right now,  but no one in my family (spread out across the globe) has had covid and I very much hope this continues.

A vaccine for covid has been developed in less than a year and the mass vaccination programme is now underway in the UK. I am number 9 on the first priority list so it will be some time before I have an opportunity to benefit from this marvel of science and until then I am more than happy to continue to stay at home.

Hopefully 2021 will be a much better year for everyone

Doctorate assignment words written – 55,000 (very imperfect) words (of 80,000) of thesis. One article about doctorate accepted for publication (March 2021).
Cups of tea drunk –  Lost count, tea is so perfect, more tea please.
Miles run – Still on the injury bench from when I hurt the inner lateral aspect of my left heel during half marathon in Feb 2020. I have been doing 5k on my cross trainer each day and also going for a walk in the evenings on nonworking days.
Kilometres swam – Zero, because Covid – 19.
Miles kayaked – Zero, because Covid-19.
Miles cycled – Zero because dangerous roads / lazy.
Cakes baked –  many, many, so many since my last post. Check out my Instagram page or my recipe page for bakes.
Crafting  done- None, unless one Christmas stocking and fussing my orchids counts?
Books read for pleasure –  Much less than I wish I could, because reading for pleasure is life, but I am too tired when I get into bed to read for more than a few mins.  (see 2020 reading page for link to book reviews)
Books read for doctorate – Many textbooks
Movies / videos watched for doctorate
Articles read for doctorate / other work 
Blogs read for doctorateThe Right to Learn, Graphic Medicine, Sheena Byrom, While you scream inside your heart,
Research undertaken – 311 research participants pre-intervention survey, 253 post intervention survey and focus goups
Meetings with doctorate supervisors – I now have three official supervisors: Dr. Isa Rega, Dr. Wendy Marsh and Dr. Ed Bickle. I had my sixth supervision meeting in Dec.
Meetings with ALN / LD support – ongoing but very similar to supervision now that I am done with the taught phase of my doctorate
Average level of guilt felt when trying to squeeze doctorate days in work diary – I don’t bother trying anymore and just use my nonworking days.
Overall average stress level – high.
Average success rate – poor

Plan for 2021   (in no particular order).

  • Rewrite methodology, quantitative and qualitative data analysis chapters
  • Write first draft of discussion chapter
  • Write first draft of conclusion chapter
  • Try to work less than 10 -12 hours a day
  • Bake
  • Read for pleasure
  • Make time for family
  • Stay Covid infection free

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