Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Change is good: 810 miles and a lot of talk about 'change'

It's been around 2 months since the last blog post. That sounds rather confessional - it isn't intended to be. But it does feel a bit odd. This blog is in it's 6th year now and I've gone from writing a lot (I mean a lot.... sometimes a good few times a week, sometimes even twice in one day) to now, being 5 months into the year and only posting 3 times (this is the 4th). I'm not sure what this says really, apart from that things are changing significantly - and for somebody who has a rather ambivalent relationship with the concept of change, this is exciting and daunting. I'm sticking with exciting. Change is good.

The past couple of months have been a little adventurous. The universe continues to show me that it is indeed smart and unpredictable. Had my birthday, started a new job, got my mind a little blown with another job offer that I thought I had lost all chances of getting, drove a grand total of around 810 miles in the space of less than a week down the country and along the coast to see some friends and take a breather (I did just calculate that mileage....), done a couple of modelling jobs even though I keep saying I have retired (yup, at 27 I can retire as a model....). I am learning, largely from other people's confused responses when I inform them that I am not modelling any more, that apparently I like to be selective and it is not entirely true that I have stopped modelling. I am just taking decisions into my own hands and of course, I've realised I do actually have a blast when with a team who create that sort of environment and foster a culture of respect. Who'd believe it; respect and positive, empowering relationships are important at work!!

So even with embracing change and making some pretty big and exciting decisions about the next few years of my life, I took some time out of my research and have finally dipped my toes back into the water. Well, no - I have plunged my whole body right back into the ocean and every time I sit down at my computer I feel like I 'should' be writing up my MSc and not writing a blog post. I do love this blog, but everything I write for my MSc is scrutinised under a magnifying glass with a fine tooth-comb, and I am on a very limited time-frame. It takes time. It can't be done with a glass of wine whilst multi-tasking and responding to emails. Well it can, but there would be very little point. So I have indeed taken the plunge and I don't think I'll come back up for air until after research interviews are done and transcribed and data analysis is completed - in fact, I don't think I'll come up for air until the whole project is written up. It's going to be a mad stage. But that is perfectly fine - nothing in life is 'sensible' these days, so madness fits right in. Have made the active choice to embrace change and madness in equal measures.

Let's hope I don't wait another couple of months before posting again. If I do, it's because my A Level students have finally cracked under the pressure.... In fact, they are all holding up spectacularly well, despite an education system that is well and truly designed to test them to their limits and beyond (not just academic limits - seriously it is designed to push them emotionally because the bar is set at ridiculous heights and we live in a horrific outcomes-driven culture). Or it will be because I, myself, have cracked under my MSc or under the papers about ethical and participatory research with children. There's a hefty pile on our dining room table just sat waiting for me to consolidate all the information I'm processing and then put into coherent words in my methodology chapter. Perhaps wine is necessary after all...

Here's a couple of my favourite pictures from Bournemouth. Thank you so much Viv and Scott for being such wonderful hosts!