I’ve been meaning to update this blog for a while now, but have been in retreat mode. And when you’re in retreat mode, sometimes blogs get ignored. (I am suppressing the urge to say “sorry about that”, for reasons explained below.)
Retreat No 1: I’ve been busy and stressed trying to meet a few deadlines, meaning I’ve retreated into my own little world – a bad habit, I know. This retreat mode was also because I was (am, in some cases) unsure about things. Like, what do I share here? What’s relevant? What do people want to read? Who’s my audience (Mum!)?
I am still unsure about a lot of these things, but I’m going to take a page from my personal blogging experiences of “blog to blog” when I’m shying away from writing. (It’s like the writers’ trick to “just write any old rubbish” as a way of getting the useful juices slowing.)
But that’s the “poor me” retreat mode so let’s move on to the fun stuff!
Retreat No 2: This was a real retreat with some of my fellow School of Computing PhD students to a loch-side retreat centre near the Highlands. It was simple and short but allowed me to share a short presentation of my research with some of my fellow students and teaching staff, who then provided a bit of feedback.
One of the most valuable bits of feedback was from one of my supervisors who suggested that I stop apologising – for my research; for being on the “soft” side of computing science; for not having all the information. (I then apologised for apologising too much. A problem I really do need to fix as I do it in all aspects of my life and it impacts my confidence. See the first paragraph.)
(Yes, there was fun activity stuff at the retreat, too, as evident by the “selfie” of me after a cycle ride to a ruined castle.)
But it’s time to move on from retreats and talk about what’s next and what blog posts you can expect from me in the future.
The biggest thing is that I’ll be giving a 20/20 presentation next Tuesday that will expand on my retreat presentation – and will hopefully see me not apologising. After that, I will have a few conferences to talk about (assuming my abstracts are accepted!) and will be able to share a bit more information about my literature searching and current reading lists. There might even be an opinion/commentary piece or two if I can get the courage to share my thoughts with you.