International man of mystery

Well, a well traveled Briton at least.  In the space of a fortnight I will have accumulated nearly 1500 miles of travel, which is a lot for a homeboy like me.

Last week, I was in Lancaster for the second, and final, PhD residential experience.  Of the twenty-five who started the course, we’re now down to effectively sixteen.  Attrition rates are traditionally high on higher degree courses, and whilst it was great to meet everyone again and renew our commitment to the course, it’s also a little sad that so many have dropped by the wayside.

The week itself was busy, both socially and academically.  I’ve mind mapped like there’s no tomorrow, been confused by some discussions, and had foggy ideas clarified by others.  One important element was the discussion of our ‘Part 2’ ideas, the thesis which I’ll be working on from the end of the year through to the end of 2013.  I have the germ of an idea, which wasn’t completely laughed out of the classroom, which I’m pleased about.

This week has been manic so far, writing online lectures and resources, and also catching up on Open University marking – I couldn’t do this the weekend as one of my PhD colleagues stayed for a couple of days – great fun but I have been playing catch-up which has only just eased itself.

Tomorrow will be an interesting day, a crack-of-dawn train down to London to a legal practice, this time to look at some risk-assessment software and look at risks that the Charity sector face.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done something like this, though it used to be a regular part of my job evaluating software packages.  It will be interesting to see how many awkward questions I can ask.

The it’s the glorious weekend, when I hope the toughest thing I’ll do is battle with Morrisons and hang out some washing, before flying off to Edinburgh next week for ICPD2 – not as I thought at first one of the lesser known droids in Star Wars.  I’ve already written about this, so I won’t bore you again, but it could be an intense, but fun packed few days.

Then we’re into Easter breaks, and with bank holidays and royal weddings I don’t have a full week at work for a good while… around this time though the next part of my PhD starts.  I’ve already accessed many of the readings, and this is a subject that does interest me.  I’m looking forward to this, the last substantive module in the ‘taught’ part of the course.

So, if anyone emails me and gets an ‘out of office’ reply, then you’ll know why over the next few days.  As Trillian says, we’ll have normality – “just as soon as we know what is normal anyway”.


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