Monday, September 19, 2016


Facebook has kindly reminded me that this day two years ago was the date of my fateful viva!
I cannot believe that it was so long ago, and I cannot believe the journey I have been on since - both professionally and personally.
The aftermath of my viva was the prompt for the start of this blog. In the early days I was ecstatic to reach 100 views  - now I have reached well over 40,000. Thank you! It has been both educational, cathartic, and incredibly rewarding.
If you go back to the start of this blog, I probably came across as frustrated, impatient, and generally quite annoyed at the delays my corrections post-viva incurred. I hope that as I and the blog have grown, I have mellowed slightly. There will always be things in academic and Higher Education that will rancour me, but I hope that I can approach such issues in a more constructive and nuanced way - looking for solutions and alternatives, rather than just pointing our failings.
And in the space of two years since the viva, I have achieved much that I never expected:

  • I spent an incredible year as an Ambitious Futures graduate trainee in higher education management. I learned so much, developed in skills and confidence, met amazing people, and made friends whose network will last well beyond the scheme.

  • I managed to get my thesis published (subject to final proofs and indexing), a process which has taken over a year but the moment that book is in my hand will be worth all the evenings sacrificed!

  • I started a new job in Student Welfare, an area of HE that I am incredibly passionate about and where I hope to make a positive impact.

It has taken two years for me to establish my own identity in the post-viva wilderness. Was I still an academic? Did taking a job in alternative-academic mean that I had to give up on the other things I loved (research and teaching)? I recognise now that I don't have to identify as one or the other - I can be both at different times or concurrently. I see myself firmly as a #blendedacademic.

If you want to hear me speak about my viva experience, check out the Viva Survivors podcast.

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