The busy life of a PhD student

I’m really bad at blogging regularly – oops! Despite the outwards impression I might sometimes give, I’ve been really busy these past few months, and although I’ve thought about blogging now and then I’ve only managed to get around to it today.

So, what have I been doing since January?

The short and obvious answer is “my PhD.” Actually it’s surprisingly hard to break down the specific things I have been doing, because a PhD is such a huge project that you end up doing random little tasks for a day or two, and then sort of forgetting about them. Like the days I spent going back through all 200 curses on my database adding one piece of information that I’d left out the first time. Or the day I drove up to Milton Keynes to the library for a book, only to realise on reading it that it was barely relevant.

Having said that, there are plenty of productive things I have done. The biggest is the aforementioned database, which currently includes 260 curse tablets from Britainnia, Gaul and Germania. It’s not finished yet – I know of at least 30 I need to add, and no doubt there are more to find in obscure epigraphy journals written 100 years ago. I also have a table on my database with over 300 personal names from the tablets, sorted by gender, ethnicity and social status. This is the sort of thing I’m really interested in, as hopefully it will give me some insights into the kinds of people who were using curses at different times and places.

I have also been reading – a lot. There’s always more too, and the end of my ‘to read’ list constantly eludes me, like a bank note on a string.

(C’mon, you know that’s still funny…)

I’ve also started writing. My probation report – basically a draft of my first chapter, including a literature review – is due in the next couple of months, and I’m giving a few papers at internal seminars and conferences. I might post bits and pieces of my writing on here, we’ll see how that goes!

Oh, and I’ve also been teaching! I’m now a tutor for the Brilliant Club, an organisation that puts PhD students in schools with low participation in higher education. To any PhD students reading this blog, I cannot recommend them highly enough. If you really want a challenge and some excellent experience, get involved!

So, a very packed few months, and it will only get more busy as we get closer summer and the end of my first year. I will try to blog more, please let me know if you’ve got any questions or any feedback on the what I post! My twitter is on the side bar, and there’s the feedback form too 🙂

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