Spring and early summer are busy training months for me. Not as in marathon training (although it should be that, too) but rather academic training. And that means that I seem to spend quite a bit of time out of the office learning new things.
The first of this year’s training was the Information Science Pathway training at my university’s Sighthill campus in mid-April. The two-day event came at a time when I was still recovering from being rather ill, so I don’t think I got as much out of it as I could have. However, I did manage to pick up a few useful ideas for my methods and literature review chapters. And, importantly, I had the opportunity to network with my fellow information science PhD students from around Scotland. (Read more about the event on Professor Hazel Hall’s blog.)
In May, I travelled to Glasgow for a two-day training event run by the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science. The event, “Avoiding Precarity – Strategies for the Modern Academic”, included a variety of topics aimed at helping late-stage PhD students plan for their post-PhD futures. Some of the topics were a bit elementary for me, in part because of my professional background and current research interests, but I was pleased to have taken a few nuggets of wisdom from other, more relevant topics.
The big training event of the season, the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science Summer School, happened earlier this June. I attended sessions all three days, and can honestly say that I gained a few extremely useful insights into my own needs as a PhD student, especially one in her (hopefully) final stretch. As with the Avoiding Precarity event, a couple of the courses were a bit too basic for me, however, I have to realise that some of that is just because of my life experiences. But a wee spark was ignited in one of the sessions that helped me to understand what I need to do to get my own productivity back on track. (I’ll share that story later – once I catch up a bit!)
My next (and final) training of the year is iDocQ next week. It’s a one-day training event that will also provide me with the opportunity to present my research in the form of a 20×20 presentation. Part of me wishes I didn’t have to go because I don’t want to spend another day out of the office, but part of me knows that it will be good for me on several levels – and that I will find at least one (hopefully more!) useful nugget of knowledge to keep me motivated. (I’ll share more about this later, along with my 20×20 presentation.)
So yes, it’s training season and I feel bad for feeling apathetic about it. I don’t know if it’s because I’m in my third year now and I’ve burnt out on training, if I am just too snowed under with a list of other tasks I want/need to complete, or if I am legitimately uninterested because some of it seems like review (maybe because I am in my final year, it is a review?). But much like running, you have to keep training even when you don’t want to, or you risk not being able to finish the race.