I finally have landed my first serious academic relationship. Me and the academy are finally going steady!!!!!I recently won a six month post-doctoral scholarship where I am paid as a Research Fellow to write and publish from my PhD thesis! Yay me! Finally, the dogged vision, the annoying outspokenness, the hard work, the slightly naive arrogance (!) have paid dividends. Anyone would think that I did it all by myself.
But I didn’t.
I have had the support of a lot of people and devices. I did a lot of the work but the work would not be what it was without my PhD supervisors, Twitter, blogging platforms, The Griffith University Sociology of Education special interest group (SIG), random and long winded email interactions, The Conversation editors and website, the Hybrid Pedagogy editors, the windowless sessional office that has been my home for six years, the people I run into in the hall, the photocopy room and the campus cafe, other PhD candidates. The list goes on.
Each and every one of these pieces of the puzzle have added up to who I am at this stage in my career. I am just the person that put it all together. The materials I have used, the people I have worked with, the grammar, the style, the institutional policies, have all led to this outcome.
The pieces of my puzzle are all part of another person’s puzzle, but my puzzle looks a bit like this:
- My PhD supervisors have given me casual jobs so I can keep my hand in university life. These have led to other casual appointments where I have met more supportive people full of best wishes and advice. My PhD supervisors have also actively encouraged me to apply for postdoctoral positions. I realise I sometimes come off as arrogant but that just hides someone who is a little gun shy. My supervisors’ belief in me has kept my vision for an academic job alive.
- I think I would have quit the process out of loneliness without social media. I have met a great community of supportive individuals and critical friends online. Social media has provided academic writing methodological advice which I absorbed like a sponge. Blogging and open access contributions have helped me be metacognitive in my practice and sort out the jumble of thoughts banging around in my head. It is therapeutic. It means I have to think about what I say because it is public. It also shows me when I use jargon and/or say something unintelligible (best to find these things out earlier rather than later)! In fact, someone I connected with on Twitter and then at a conference became a critical friend during my thesis revisions.
- I joined the Sociology of Education SIG on advice from post doctoral interview feedback. The members of the SIG have wholeheartedly embraced me to the extent where I am being paid to do project work for them. The SIG has opened my eyes to a diversity of research and ideas which have enriched and developed a little bit more the pretty basic, empirical thinking of my PhD thesis. The SIG has also shown me that the more I learn, the less I know.
- That thinking has led to a renewed passion for education which I publicly explored online. The public reaction to my article helped me to solidify my ideas and find gaps that needed filling.
Basically, when I move to my new windowless office, when I get back patted and air kissed, when my Twitter followers congratulate me with multiple exclamation marks, I just want you all to know, I couldn’t have done it without you.