Reflections on being a Hive Scholar – Charlotte Morris

The is the first of a short series of posts in which the 2012-13 scholars will reflect on our experiences as we prepare to finish our time with the Hive. In this first post, Charlotte Morris looks back at a rewarding year. If being a Hive scholar sounds good to you, you could consider applying to be a scholar in 2013-14. And most importantly, don’t forget to email us to sign up for the Hive end of year picnic and games afternoon in Stanmer Park on the 13th of June, and come along to celebrate a great year!

Rachel, Charlotte & Frank packing welcome event goodie bags

My year as a Research Hive Scholar

Charlotte Morris

I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to work as a Research Hive Scholar this year and can’t quite believe how quickly it has gone.  It has been very pleasant being based in the library with the friendly, helpful and supportive staff and I thoroughly enjoy working in the Research Hive space as a scholar as well as on my own research.  My reasons for applying for the post were to make the most of my final year of study, to contribute to my research community and to benefit from feeling part of that community and all of those objectives have been achieved.  I’ve loved having a creative outlet, indulging my interest in researcher development and wellbeing, getting stuck into organising events and meeting so many fantastic people along the way.  Working with my fellow scholars, Rachel and Frank, has been a joy and I’m so grateful to Frank for keeping us all organised and focussed and to Rachel for all the amazing energy and creativity she brings to everything.
Highlights for me have been seeing ideas come to fruition such as the ‘How to finish your PhD’ and ‘Viva Survivor’ peer-led workshops and seeing how other researchers have benefitted from sharing their experiences.  I’ve also got a lot out personally and professionally out of many of the activities we’ve been involved in – especially the Sage workshop on publishing and the very much needed ‘shut up and write’ sessions.  I’m also glad we got to have a fair bit of fun along the way, meeting new researchers at our welcome event, hanging out in the bar, letting our hair down at the lovely ‘wellbeing walk’ on the downs and participating in the Doctoral school festive fair, wellbeing week and barbecue.  Fingers crossed for the weather on June 13th as our planned end-of-year picnic and games afternoon in Stanmer Park looks like being the perfect ending to a great year!

In a strange way, even though it could be said that the scholar work occasionally ate into my doctoral study time, it has enhanced my studies.  In a more obvious way, the advice from recent completers about getting finished, preparing for the viva and the advice from Sage about getting published has helped me focus and prepare for the next phase of my research career.  Our contact with Sage meant there was a great opportunity to publish a piece on research wellbeing through the Guardian Higher Education online.  I have also felt much more ‘in the loop’ with various developmental activities going on such as Careers and Employability workshops.  The knowledge and skills I have been developing as part of the role such as marketing and communication all help to keep my CV looking healthy.  In a more subtle way, it is helpful to share what you’re going through with people who understand and may be experiencing something similar themselves.  Just sitting together as part of the ‘shut up and write’ sessions feels supportive and I have a strong sense of community whenever I’m in the Hive surrounded by familiar faces.  It’s also been good to break up my time so that when it’s time to study I’ve really focussed down and got on with it and, let’s face it, it’s got me into the library on a much more regular basis!  So it’s good luck to next year’s scholars and I hope they get as much out of the experience as I have.

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