On the back of yesterday’s good news post I began to think of all the times I had been the recipient of another academics generosity. And there have been many.

SO here is my list of things that have made my life as an academic easier

  • My supervisors never fail to respond to emails promptly – which as any fraught student will know is invaluable. Their feedback can bite sometimes but I know when I do submit that my thesis will stand up to any scrutiny as it has already been seen by the most invested and thorough of eyes!
  • Support staff at my institute and others are usually the most accommodating, usually bending over backwards with the skill of a contortionist to provide the help and support I have needed.
  • When attending conferences I usually find the discussions are unrestricted and unguarded – information is freely shared and whilst some academic reticence is necessary there seems to be little jealousy. More a kind of shared enthusiasm for the subject.
  • Librarians – now libraries are usually a source of contention in any HE or FE institution. Book provision has to be the no.1 talked/complained about matter at any student/staff council. But setting that aside I have found librarians (the proper qualified kind with expertise knowledge in your field) to be the most patient  and generous with their time and knowledge. Our specialist librarian once had me in for a one to one session on how to search for information and locate archives. This was of a great help to me when I was floundering. Her name will be included in the acknowledgements to my thesis because it was as important to my research at that time as my supervisor’s feedback
  • National Libraries – busy busy places that deal with all levels of enquiry yet never fail to come up with the goods – they are like specialist librarians on speed – is there anything they don’t know?
  • Archives and repositories – the best place to get in touch with someone as enthusiastic as you are – the curator of any archive that relates to your topic! It’s a reciprocal relationship because you can learn from them but they can also learn from you!
  • Department faith in students – ours recently handed over book ordering responsibilities to the student. This means we can access our Coutts account and order books that we need in order to carry out our research effectively. They may be subject to approval but simply letting us be responsible is a great sign that our faculty trust us to behave in a grown up fashion.
  • Other academics inc. fellow students and bloggerstudents – Apart from yesterday’s wonderful gift I have also been given book chapters before they were published, as well as articles and information relevant to my work. One in particular involved other academics talking to each other so I got an advance copy of a seminal text that was not going to be complete for another 6-10 months – Thank you Peter Brooker and Jean-Michel Rabaté  for you utter selflessness … I bought the book!
  • Family and friends – last on the list maybe but never least. None of us could manage this without their unstinting support.

Sometimes in life it is just the right time to stop and smell the roses and realise things are never as bad as they seem – that in the darkness of that blinking black cursor and vastness of the empty white screen there is always a glimmer of light

Have a good Wednesday – I am off to write!

UPDATE ON SCRIVENER: it was so good I bought the license – I cannot imagine writing without it now. It just organises all the information you need into these neat little split windows – it shows you any view of the document you want and is adaptable for academic and non-academic writing. Well worth it. Even though I would say it still has a lot to offer that I haven’t tapped into and it is not glitch free or perfect, the forums are fantastic for tips and the software creator is constantly trying to improve the product with regular updates. If you are serious about writing it is well worth downloading the FREE 30 day trial! 

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “The Academic Community

  1. Great post. Even at MA level I have found specialist libraries and Librarians go above and beyond what I expected from them.

    Re Scrivener, I haven’t embraced this yet, but I passed it on to my brother who is doing a PhD in Urban History and he loves it and has also bought it. I did buy the SimpleMinds mind map tool you reviewed though and have used it loads, as have my daughters for their essay planning.

    Merry Christmas xx

    1. Oh I am glad you and others are getting something good out of the stuff I procrastinate with! LOL

      Do you work on a PC or a Mac? I work on a mac and find scrivener’s aesthetics inordinately pleasing to my apple-obsessed brain! It took me a while – once I had got the basics though the idea of having all my sources in one place was just so fulfilling!

      The BIG plus for me was also the search – I can put in a phrase and it searches ALL the docs you have imported (pdfs e-books, journal articles, chapters previous work) – that is just amazing!

      I also discovered it’s scratchpad which allows you to c&p extracts and store it as a sub-doc so you don’t have to go through the whole doc again! Wonderful!

      Can you tell I am a convert! ? 😉

  2. Great post. I agree all of these things make what we are trying to achieve possible and it goes way further than the services available to us. Family and friends are certainly important as they usually see us at both our worst and our best. I’ve also bought the license for Scrivener it seems just the tool I need, not just for study but for writing. I seem to have caught the bug and it’s something I want to keep going with if my studies permit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s