my PhD journey: from student to lecturer

9 11 2011

hi all

So much for trying to update regularly, crikey I’ve been so busy its been around 6 months since my last update.

Ok so what new, well from the title you may well have guessed that I am now lecturing as well as trying to do my PhD, I say trying as I am working so much I am finding it difficult to make time to do anything on my PhD, so currently I have an almost complete paper waiting to be finalised so that I can send it for journal publication. I also have in my head at least 2 more papers that need writing either for conference or journal, as working towards my progression form 6 and getting my ethics form ready, so no pressure there lol

The paper I wrote and presented at the Investigative Psychology conference in Amsterdam (Interpretations of domestic violence: defining intimate partner abuse)  is now available in the university repository at http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/11786/2/GavinInterpretations.pdf anyone interested in the subject might want to check it out (positive/negative feedback/critique welcomed)

So what am I teaching I hear you ask, well I am delivering final year undergrad Forensic Psychology at UCO & UCB (that’s the University of Huddersfield campuses at Oldham & Barnsley), as well as first year undergrad Concepts in Psychology at both campuses and final year undergrad Psychological Difficulties at UCO; on top of this I am supervising 3 final year projects and have 31 first year personal tutee’s across the 2 campuses. there is also the possibility that I may be supervising a few more projects shortly, so you can see I have my hands full. Although I am enjoying lecturing and so far so good I’m getting positive feedback from the students and my superiors. I just hope I can get a healthy balance between work and PhD so that I don’t fall behind, but if I don’t work I can’t pay my fees, and I don’t get the much-needed experience.

I also covered a lecture with the MSc Investigative Psychology students on Domestic Violence & Stalking which was quite daunting, but I got through it. There is definitely a difference in lecturing at the campuses and lecturing at Queensgate.

I have now signed up to do the TAPP (Teaching Assistant Preparation Programme) in January. I know a little late considering the amount I’m doing, but I feel I could benefit from some training, as I was just thrown in the deep end when I started as I couldn’t make the training day due to being on holiday.

I can say now though after a couple of months lecturing that I am starting to develop a routine and should soon be getting back on top of my PhD, though assignments will be due in soon so I will have a pile of marking to do. However, I am not going to worry as term time is only half the year so I will get time to catch up when schools out.

Well I think that’s about all for now folks, up early for work in the morning so I’ll leave for now.

nice to chat with you all again, till next time

bye peeps

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Update and rant from your favourite random blogger

5 05 2011

hi guys,

Sorry its been a while since my last blog, i have been quite busy with other things, but i want to continue blogging so here i am again, i am going to try to update at least once a month, more if possible.

I guess i should start by letting you know how my presentation went in Amsterdam. i have to say i was terrified, i was only the 3rd speaker on the 1st day and the room i was in was busting at the seams, all preperations in place i stood up in front of all these professional people from around the world, voice and body shaking and seriously feeling like i was about to burst into tears a began my presentation. Though i felt like i was shaking uncontrollably and my voice sounded shaky i managed to get through the 20 minutes without breaking down completely, fortunately no-one asked any questions during or at the end and i could relax. When the room emptied my friends priased me but confirmed that i did indeed look like i might cry at the very beginning of my presentation but apparently i composed myself very quickly and came across very well. So that was the actual presentation over but i was still shaking, i guess i still needed to get some feedback from those who had seen my presentation but were not connected to me so had no vested interest in being nice – if you know what i mean. Following my presentation it was lunch break, so i went to meet up with my colleagues and network. i looked around the room at a sea of highly proffessional people who have years of experience, got a coffee and a sandwich and just watched people talking, i admit i felt rather intimidated and small so i just smiled at people whose faces i recognised but did not know and waited patiently for an opening to speak to some-one. Then it happened, someone wanted to talk to me, someone i hold in high regard wanted to know about my research, but even more exciting he wanted to use my research in his work (and over seas), i couldn’t possibly have been paid a better compliment, we talked for a while and i handed him my business card to get in touch, i was over-whelmed to say the least. next i was approached by another PhD student who was interested in my research and asked for my card, then i was complimented by numerous others who had attended my presentation, SUCCESS, i could relax, i wasn’t going to be torn to pieces, or critisized, people who said they had intended to asked questions found that i had answered them within my presentation, all the stress i had been carrying round started to leave me and now i was just plain exhausted. The rest of the day i attended other presentations, and helped out with the organisation, then that evening me and some of the other girls went into the centre and experienced the real Amsterdam, which i thoroughly enjoyed.

After Amsterdam i was psychologically and physically exhausted i practically slept for 3 days, i couldn’t motivate myself to get back into my routine of uni work and let it slide rather a lot, luckily i had signed up to do the workshop for just this occassion ‘avoiding defeatism & self sabotage’ it did the job and my enthusiasm returned, unfortunately the following week was full of emergency situations that diverted me away from my work, then i was taken seriously ill and couldn’t do anything. not to worry though, i have now forced myself to sit down and start doing my uni work, i have had to realise that i can’t always stick to my usually strict study regime as sometimes ‘life just gets in the way’ that said i am not about to give up on my studies now. so here i am sat at the computor again, trying to work on my form 2 for the PhD, for those of you that don’t know what that is, it is basically the research proposal for my PhD, which i have yet to pull together as i still haven’t got it sraight in my head yet.

I must say that i have been having the most unfortunate run of bad luck this last month, without going into too much detail and boring everyone, over the last 4 weeks i have had 3 family emergencies that required my assistance, my own sudden illness that required a hospital visit and now numerous intrusive tests that will probably require a major operation. complete melt down of the laptop i use for all my uni work and like a fool i hadn’t backed up my most recent work, though luckily i was able to retrieve it before the laptop died forever (it is now in the hands of the insurance company), i also got done for speeding, naughty i know but per-lease 33mph  in a 30mph, that is pathetic but i have had to pay£85 and must go on a speed awareness course. on top of this i have a leak in my bathroom that requires a plumber, an electrical fault that requires the elctrician, and no money tree in the back garden to fund all this. as well as all that the wind blew my washing line completely down with the washing on it, my cooker as decided to fall to bits and because of my illness i am unable to start training for the job with stop hate.

On a more positive note, i am going on holiday very soon, and when i return all of the above problems are going to be solved and i can sit back with the knowledge that 2011 can’t get any worse, which means things can only get better.

Oh and i am now officially a non-smoker having recieved my certificate from the NHS after completing the course, yes there have been times when i really could have reached for a cigarette but i didn’t and i am no longer reliant on nicotine replacement, so for all of you out there that want to stop smoking i can recommend the NHS smoking cessation.

Oh well, this blog is seriously not helping me get some work done so i am going to sign out for today

although anyone out there who might want to join in on my random blogs or even discuss a research topic please feel free to comment or email me and i’ll get back to you

till next time – bye guys





25 research things: week 9

4 04 2011

hi guys, i guess its time to say goodbye now we have reached the end of our introduction to web 2.0. i feel i have learnt quite a lot over the last few weeks, my favourites have been Diigo and blogging. quite a few of the 25 research things were tools i had already been using especially the social networking sites such as facebook, twitter, and linked in. though i am really grateful for the introduction to groupon, i had never heard of this group but have started using it quite regular now. the worst activity for me was podcasts, i have no idea how they work and did not find them useful at all. i will continue to use the 25 research things throughout my studies and hopefully become more familiar with them over time. i am definately going to continue blogging as i have found this very helpful in processing my thoughts, and i like recieving comments from you guys.

keep in touch





25 research things: week 8

28 03 2011

Hi guys, step one this week (you tube) was extremely easy for me as i use it quite often, especially as a research tool, i have many clips saved regarding domestic violence 2 of which i have added to this blog, the first one is a call made to police by a man during an attack from his wife, some think this is funny and i can understand that but it does show that we need to raise awareness of domestic violence aimed at men 

The second clip is the first in a series of four showing Erin Pizzey discussing domestic violence against men, i find this extremely informative especially when you consider that Erin Pizzey is actually the woman who opened the first shelter for battered women in the UK in 1967 

It is not only the clips that are useful/interesting, it is also the comments that are left by viewers, i will definately be using youtube during the process of my thesis.

Took a good look at podcasts, and have decided they are not for me, firstly i didn’t find anything of interest and secondly, it seems way too complicated. i signed up but didn’t recieve the email link to confirm my identity, i queried it but still nothing. i did manage to take a look at some podcasts but as i found them dull.  i think this is one app i can live without. so i guess thats 24 of the 25 research things over with.

On a different note, i am off to Amsterdam on Wednesday for the Investigative Psychology conference at which i am presenting, i’m glad i did a run through last week as i have made a few changes to make it easier for me to remember and to keep in time. i’d like to thank everyone who came to the research forum for their input – though it still didn’t ease my anxiety, lol. my presentation slot as been moved and i am now presenting Thursday lunch time instead of Friday morning, i’m actually glad of the move as it means once it is over i have 2.5 days to relax and enjoy rather than letting my anxiety build, after all its only 20 minutes of my life, how bad can it be?

I’ll let you know the outcome next week. don’t worry i won’t be having a cig to calm my nerves (5 weeks a non-smoker now :-)), but a shot of vodka might be called for.

well i’m not going to chatter on as i sometimes do as i have alot to do still in preperation, so i’ll see you all next week





Interview success, now the waiting game

21 03 2011

I’m back, the interview was a success, now i have to wait until they schedule my training which will coincide with the return of my CRB check, so now i am playing the waiting game, which they estimate to be 3-4 weeks. It was a nightmare finding the place and i know when i go for training i am going to get totally and utterly lost in Leeds. fortunately once i have recieved the appropriate training i will be working from home and not required to go into the offices. my first training is as an helpline worker, providing phone, text and email help to victims, witnesses, family members ect who are or have been affected by discrimination/hate, advising on available services in their locality and providing support.

I am also being considered to work with the review board, looking at closed cases they have been involved with to determine whether sufficient support was provided by all responsible service providers, and whether or not things could have/should have been done differently.

I’m really excited now, they provide a fantastic service in collaboration with law enforcement agencies, and local communities. i have very positive vibes about working for STOP HATE UK.





Where is week 8? oops i’m off on one, lol

21 03 2011

Hi guys, did i miss something? have we come to the end of our 25 research things? i was enjoying the weekly distraction and learning more about so many useful tools on the web, i’m not ready to find a new monday routine!

however, i do have something new occuring today – i have an interview at STOP HATE UK, it is for a voluntary position, but i figure if i prove to be a assett to the organisation it could lead to paid employment.  it will also give me much needed experience, qualifications aren’t everything. It will give me an idea of the real issues faced by marginalised individuals and groups, rather than just reading the literature on such matters, and who knows it could give me some ideas for future research.

This morning i was discussing hate with an aquaintance and she said “some people are animals” i don’t agree, animals don’t discriminate, and animals that are violent are usually so due to the influence of man (woman). Some people just put themselves above others, we are meant to be a civilised society, accepting of human diversity, but we judge others for their differences, such as the colour of their skin, their religious beliefs, culture, sexuality, disabilities; what gives us the right to deem others as less worthy of things we take for granted? why is being white associated with superiority?

In my opinion ignorance is the basis for hate. i’m getting quite fuelled now as i process my feelings on the subject, i guess i should count my blessings that i am a white heterosexual female, with no visible disabilities, living in a working class community among similar people, nothing much about me that would initiate a hate campaign (unless of course you know me personally, lol). however, take me out of this setting and put me ‘somewhere i don’t belong’ where maybe being white is hated (can’t say as i blame oppressed individuals for hating white people) and then i could easily a victim of hate. we create communities of similar people, for example we have class structures; ethnic minorities and gays and lesbians build their own communities and tend to remain within the confines of that community, as if they must not wander into dissimilar communities.  we should question then why do we have these invisible boundaries? furthermore, just because we are not all alike (how boring would that be) should we be persecuted for our differences?

i could go on all day but i have just noticed the time and must set off for my interview, i must say that having my little rant as actually prepared me for the interview and i feel enlightened, you know what – blogging is good for ironing out my thoughts, i’m don’t feel the pressures of writing a paper when i’m blogging, i write freely straight off the top of my head as the thoughts swirl around my head – it is very refreshin.

i’ll let you all know how i get on, and if you have any thoughts of your own on my writings or anything really then leave a comment

OH by the way, now done 4 weeks of not smoking, haven’t even been wearing the patches, though i am still using the losenges, a couple of time i did think ‘oh i could kill for a cig right now’ but then i reminded myself that ‘hang on, i haven’t had a cig for however long, so why do i need one now?’ and the craving passes. went to cessation this morning and now i only need to go every fortnight, and next time i go i get a reward oooh i can’t wait na, i love getting rewarded lol

got to go, probably could talk all day now i’ve started (must be having a manic moment)





25 research things: week 7

16 03 2011

Hi all, well i took a look at ‘my experiment’ and ‘arts-humanities.net’ but did not find either of them of any interest to me, however, i did sign up to my experiment for future reference. As for wikipedia, i do tend to use it as a starting point as it provides a base for whatever i am researching. i find wikipedia useful for giving me a general understanding of a subject before i intesify my research, i also find it useful for building critique of a subject.

During my undergrad i had to do a paper on genetic engineering, something for which i had no knowledge, i explored the subject on wikipedia and purchased a book they had referenced, the book was actually aimed at high-school children but believe me it made a lot more sense to me than the academic books i had been reading on the subject and i got an excellent grade for my paper as a result. therefore, i would never discount wikipedia as a research tool.

I looked up intimate partner abuse and as is the norm i was diverted to ‘Domestic Violence’. wikipedia provides a excellent description of DV, identifying numerous terms used synonymously and discussing the difference between DV and ‘family violence’. it identifies DV as physical and non-physical abuse within intimate relationships, and identifies with heterosexual male victims as well as same-sex relationships. Overall, wikipedia’s entry for DV is a thorough account that is well evidenced, though it refers to family members, which is problematic as it is then crossing over with family violence. though, i am not going to discuss this in depth as i have a paper awaiting publication that iterates this point.

I have signed up as a member of wikipedia and would be very interested in writing my own entry or in the least adding to the DV entry once my paper is publicised and i can back up my argument.

On a totally different note, my presentation in Amsterdam is drawing ever nearer and i am petrified. my slides are ready and i know my work inside out, my problem is that i go blank – literally, i never feel nervous beforehand but as soon as i take the to the floor and click on my slides it’s like i am seeing it for the first time and i forget everything. i am doing a run through at the research forum on 23rd March but am still worried, especially as i do not speak academically, those of you that know me, know exactly what i mean, i am a Barnsley lass and as the saying goes ‘you can take a lass out of Barnsley, but you can’t take Barnsley out of the lass’.

Does anyone have any advice on how i might ‘posh it up’ as my supevisor said, lol