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  • Onwards

    March 10th, 2019 she Posted in Learning & Education, Random Burbling No Comments »

    When I was considering returning to school to work on a PhD, one of the main pieces of advice I’d read was to keep a journal. Some recommended handwriting one – I tried that in my Master’s program and missed more days than I wrote – while others recommended electronic methods.

    I had the best of intentions of tracking my progress – mainly what I’m thinking about the experience – via this blog. It existed. No one reads it. Seemed like the perfect avenue to get thoughts down into words.

    And I’ve discovered that I just don’t have the focus and temperament to do so.

    It’s not that I don’t like to write or babble about what I’m thinking. It’s an issue of time. Working full-time, then attempting to complete a “part-time” PhD that eats up more waking hours than my day job, leaves me with precious little time for extraneous writing. And, while I do think I need to find some way to set aside time to journal my PhD, not being able to do so regularly has become a source of stress and anxiety. Just what I needed…

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    A gal walks into a class

    August 7th, 2018 she Posted in Learning & Education No Comments »

    … and 8 months later still has no idea what she’s doing!

    I’m mid-way through my second class in my PhD – having provisionally passed the first – and feel like I know less now than I did when I applied to be accepted in the program. I don’t even know if what I wanted to research when I applied is even remotely related to what I’ll end up writing my dissertation on. *sigh*

    I know squat about squat. That’s it. That’s all I’ve figured out at this point.

    Oh, and somehow I have to edit a paper for journal submission. EEP!


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    PhD – week 1

    January 23rd, 2018 she Posted in Learning & Education, Reading Begets Enlightenment No Comments »

    With my first week of classes under my belt I already feel horribly unprepared, overwhelmed, and out of my depths. While I managed to get my first assignment in with time to spare, the time I had originally budgeting for completing my assigned readings proved insufficient and I only managed one optional reading by the end of the weekend.

    I did learn that there’s another Edmontonian in my cohort, which will make the journey interesting and far less isolating outside of residential periods.

    I also managed to get Library access at the local university libraries (yay Alberta TAL card!) so I’m a bit less stressed about getting access to required reading materials that I can’t get through the online library databases. Between the Edmonton Public Library system, U of A Libraries, and McEwan Libraries, I should be able to find everything I need.

    Now, if I can manage to submit my partial assignment this evening for critiquing, then I’ll be in good shape for the rest of the week. I think…


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    the auld sod

    December 11th, 2017 she Posted in Friends & Family, Learning & Education No Comments »

    One of the factors which impacted my decision to accept the offer to study at Lancaster University is the requirement to fly to the UK to attend classes as part of my programme of study. My parents and sister were born in the UK and I have dual citizenship. When I was a child, my parents brought us home to visit family as often and for as long as they could afford. At times, this meant that I left school early at the end of the year, that I was late starting school by a week or two (hello, grade 6!), or that I left school mid-semester. I have to admit, I took most of these trips for granted. After all, didn’t everyone travel to see their cousins and grandparents?  It was a long time before I realized just how amazing many of those trips were. If nothing else, they introduced me to a travel bug that bit and took hold!

    Sadly, I haven’t been back to the auld sod since before I was married. My husband has met the Canadian side of the family a number of times, but has only met three of my UK-based aunts in the 20+ years we’ve been together. I’m hoping to leverage my education to remedy this horrible oversight on our part.

    This past week I’ve been prepping for my school trip. I’ve booked my spot in the university residence and purchased my flights to the UK. We’ve thrown a few extra days in to visit family before classes start. I doubt I’ll have time to go distillery hopping this trip, but that does leave me with a travel goal for next year.

    In all my travels and living in foreign countries, there’s one thing that has been haunting me. My horrific need to over pack for trips. I blame childhoods of packing wellies (sunny all the time) and then not packing rain gear (hello downpours!). In at attempt to be ever prepared, I pack things I don’t normally use at home (skin care routine?  Since when do I follow THAT religiously?) or I pack as if I’ll never see a washing machine at any point in the journey.

    I’m trying to remedy that this trip around. While I did purchase a ticket with a suitcase option for my husband and for my mum, I stuck my sister and I with the glorious challenge of traveling with only a carry-on suitcase and a personal item. This week I’ve set a goal to make a packing list. Next week, I may try a dry run for packing. This is so out of character for me when it comes to packing. Usually I’m the throw everything I own into every bag the night before type of trip packer. I’ve heard rumours that prepared people exist and apparently I’m going to try and become one in the new year. Who knew?

    Tune in next month to learn more about the saga of pre-packing!



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    6 weeks …

    December 5th, 2017 she Posted in Learning & Education No Comments »

    … that’s all the time I have left before I delve back into school. 9 of my 14 textbooks have arrived. My school email address is configured. My desk space has been set up and a laptop is at the ready. All that’s left is pre-reading and paying my tuition. And 4-6 years of study, research, hair pulling, and the occasional maniacal grin.

    When I left university 20+ years ago, I never imagined I’d return. I always assumed that higher education wasn’t for me. My brain didn’t work “that way”. Dropping out was a huge disappointment to my parents at the time. The first in the family to go to university was also the first who didn’t finish. I wasn’t ready to settle down or follow a single path. I worked and tried new things. I lived in multiple countries and continents. As I grew in work and life experience, I found a new passion and new friends. Those new friends helped me figure out the baby steps I’d need to follow to continue in my planned career change.

    Returning to university in my early 30s was the best thing that could have happened to me. With work and life experience under my belt, I had something to contribute to other students and profs that was missing from my first attempts at university immediately following high school. With new technologies available I was able to attend classes while working full-time. I never expected to move from BA to MEd to PhD in quick succession yet here I am. I only wish my dad could have lived to see this. I’m certain he’d be amazed at how everything turned out. Education was one of his fundamental values.

    If I’d known then what I know now, I’d have let myself off the hook for many things. I’d have been less worried about not measuring up and have perhaps enjoyed the journey a bit more along the way. Regardless, I can take comfort in the knowledge that I’m always learning.

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