PhD update – the end is in sight!

It’s 8:21am. I’ve been sitting at my desk now since a little after 6am, working feverishly on amendments to a journal article while also planning out thesis amendments, my next blog series, and ideas for the In The Zone podcast. I’m also trying to sort out my work situation for next year and scour the internet for somewhere to live. Oh, and I’m also organising a conference.

Just another day in the life of an academic hermit!

But it’s not all bad. The end is now well and truly in sight. I’ve met my second supervisor and updated my thesis with his suggestions, and now all that remains is to check that he is happy with my changes and cut out about 400 words to bring my total under the 80,000 word maximum required by my department. Though 400 words may not sound like a lot, this will still take quite a lot of work as I’ve already honed down a lot of my content to the bare minimum wordage where possible.

This may be hard to believe, but the main challenge with a humanities thesis is not reaching the word-count, but cutting down your content to fit within the maximum limit. Nearly there though, and not too long to go until I submit!

Finding work

The next big challenge in my academic journey is finding work for next year. I’ve already been offered a few hundred hours of teaching and marking in the Management School, and will hopefully have a few more classes to add to that before term starts anew. I’m also hoping to continue my work for CCCU for the foreseeable future until I can get a full-time (permanent) academic post. In the meantime, I’m also looking at other part-time options to top up my income to cover the cost of living.

Building my CV

It seems strange to think that even now, at the age of 33-and-a-bit, I’m still desperately searching to find every little way I can to further enhance my CV. In the world of academia, this normally means getting more publications and also adding in some teaching qualifications as well. As such, I’m currently in the process of researching and drafting two papers on Marketing and consumer culture (with my Management School hat on), while also working on two pieces that are more aligned with the arts and humanities. I’ve also applied for Lancaster’s PGCAP scheme, which I’m really keen to get on, though I know places are limited, so I may have to take something else if I can’t get in for this year. The hope is that all these things will stand me in good stead when vacancies come up, and if I can demonstrate my proactive work ethic, then hopefully I might stand a chance of landing a permanent position.

Conferences

As I write this blog, I’m just sorting through material for our upcoming conference, Embodying Fantastika. As well as co-organising the conference, I’m also giving a paper on military sci-fi, and running a workshop on digital marketing for academics. I haven’t written either paper just yet, but then I have been rather building the conference website, organising the schedule, sorting out refreshments, and all the myriad random things that come up when it comes to conference organisation. Hopefully I’ll get some time this month to get these done before the conference kicks off in August…

Podcasts

As well as all the usual academic admin, job hunting, paper writing and conference organising, I’m pleased to say I’ve still found time to continue work on the In The Zone podcast, which I co-host with friend and colleague, Josh Hughes. We’ve now recorded a total of 26 episodes, which means we’ve done a whole six months’ worth of podcasting, starting in January, with another couple of recording sessions already lined up for the coming weeks. If you haven’t listened to it already, do please check it out. We talk about anything and everything that interests us from the world of academia, and often bring in guest contributors such as Claire McGann (book history), Lindsey-Claire Hogg (organ transplants), and Craig Jones (space colonialism). If you have any suggestions for future episodes, or would like to appear on the show, do please get in touch!

Until next time,

Mike

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