2016 has been a bit of a shit year, overall.  Yes, there have been some high points, but overall, I feel like this image sums up 2016 in a nutshell.

And this most certainly applies to me.

This year overall, I did a lot of writing and a lot of running and not much else, which is ok as I had to get my thesis finished. Whereas 2015 was filled with terrible personal lows, 2016 was more even-keeled, but challenging as it felt like every week we were saying goodbye to someone who had moved us on the screen, stage, or radio.

January: I attempted another Whole 30 but wasn’t really in the mindset.

February: I did some running and spent time in the library working.

March: I ran the Resolution Run 10K with a PR.

April: I tried out run club, I began to plan my 41st birthday, and got far too overjoyed at a reply on Twitter.

May: More of the above, only trying to look cool doing it.

June: I was on task to massively PR my 10k at the Women’s 10, but ended up injured. 🙁  This necessitated about 2 weeks off of running and then I began to train for my second half.

July:  Running.  Pilates.  Pokemon.  Writing.

August: Running.  Pilates.  Pokemon.  Writing.  Ran the OUT 5 miler (with no injury or issue, a rarity in 2016!)

September: Thesis submission.  Running. Pilates. Start the fundraiser for Mark Gatiss’s 50th birthday.

October:  Run my second half, get injured again. 🙁  BIRTHDAY!!!! The Boys in the Band! Stina and Sara came to visit! So much excitement and awesome in one week!  Raised over £1100 for Switchboard for Mark Gatiss’s 50th birthday!

November: Do a whole lot of nothing. Run the MoRun 5K and PR. Pilates.

December: Get my nails done, drink a lot of Starbucks, PASS MY VIVA!

2016 in a brief nutshell:

Plays seen: 1
Trips to London: 1 😞
Miles/km run: 472/759.6 (So should be 500 miles by the end of the year easy)
Pounds lost: ~30
Viva’s passed: 1

Apologies for not getting this up sooner.  It’s taken a bit more time to process than I had anticipated.

As I posted last, my viva was on Tuesday. I was terribly nervous and anxious, as you might expect.  As someone who suffers from anxiety, it was a bit more than that, and it took a fair bit of chemical assistance to get me to the point where I wasn’t literally trembling (or covered head to toe in hives).

I actually slept the night before.  I had had visions of being awake all night or waking up at 3 am wide awake in a panic.  I laid in bed until about 8 and then got up to get ready for the day.  Steph walked with me to Starbucks and uni and stayed with me until I had to go and meet my advisor.  It wasn’t too long until we were called in.

They started off by saying that they wanted this to be a conversation, rather than an interrogation, and I was terribly relieved.  I didn’t think it was going to be an inquisition, but I had read enough on the subject to be wary of the types of examiners.

I don’t specifically remember all of the questions, but I know the first one was in reference to how I decided on this subject area.  I was glad for this question, as it was easily answered, and it certainly helped put me a bit more at ease.  More specific questions went on from there, even getting as specific as page numbers, paragraphs, and sentences, which again I found helpful as I had a copy of my thesis right there to refer to.

The last question was sort of a surprise but not.  I was asked if I were to present my findings at a conference of head teachers, what four key points would I like to share. (It had been mentioned at a meeting I had in preparation for the viva that I might be asked about what I thought this research could lead to policy wise, so I had a think on this before the viva.)  I hadn’t done a lot of research into policy, nor do I have a very good handle on how the Scottish school system works overall.  But what I do know is how teachers think and as a former teacher, I used this knowledge combined with the information from my interviews as well as common sense to answer the question.

After this question was answered, they thanked me, and I was sent on my way while they deliberated.  My supervisor was very pleased with my answers, which was good.  We both thought we would have an hour or so before they called us back in.  It was about 15 minutes later, when we got the call.

And this is where I really panicked.  I didn’t feel like that was a very long deliberation, so it was either really good, or really shit.

I was very relieved when they told me that they wouldn’t keep me in suspense.  I was a bit worried about that, to be honest.  I wasn’t sure how long I could sit there and not know!  When they told me I had passed, I really was quite shocked.  As most people know, this entire process throughout the PhD was fraught with many issues, both personal and professional and there were many times that I did not think I would get this far, and if I did get this far, I’d be laughed out of the room.

So, now what?  I have three months to make my corrections (nothing seriously troublesome and nothing unexpected) and that’s that.  I’ll be awarded my PhD at the next graduation in Spring 2017. I also need to think about publishing results and finding a job.

And last but not least, that last viva question, wasn’t a trick.  It was a serious question as I will possibly be doing such a presentation (or presentations) in the near future.  I would also like to consider other ways of disseminating my research findings, but I’ve not come up with an answer for that yet.  A professional blog or twitter?  Things to consider for 2017.

 

Twas the night before the Viva, when all through the flat,

Not a creature was stirring, not even Bailey the cat.

The chapters were outlined in the thesis with care,

In hopes that the doctorate soon would be theirs.

 

The examiners were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of passing the candidate danced in their heads.

And Bailey on the couch, and I in my bed,

Had just settled down after the thesis had been once again re-read.

 

When out on Twitter there arose such a fuss,

People are still cyberbullying, engaging online with a cuss.

I logged on to my computer, quick as a flash,

Opening the application, not hesitating a dash.

 

The cursor was flashing inside the new message window,

And I certainly was ready to type a message below.

When what to my tired eyes should appear,

Messages of support and love, to some may endear.

 

Understanding exclusion, via Norbert Elias,

In hopes that these marginalising behaviours will soon be behind us.

While the data proclaimed bullying still is an issue,

Teachers need education and training; I tell you this is true.

 

An interesting tidbit; yes here’s a fact.

More young people were traditionally bullied, rather than online without tact.

While this may back up the assertions of Olweus, who may have attempted to detract.

Interviewees illustrated that all forms of bullying had a severe impact.

 

Hopefully the questions will be answered in such a way,

That the examiners will most certainly be swayed.

And hopefully at some point tomorrow,

Cindy will pass with just corrections; otherwise, there will be sorrow.

I’ll start with the news.  I had my second annual review to discuss the progress I needed to make this summer.  I am pleased to say that I met the goals that I worked very hard to attain this summer and I am able to continue on.  This means I can finally look past my birthday in terms of things that I want to do, places I want to go, concerts I want to see, etc.  I have a lot of work to do, but I hope that I can meet the goals that I have and earn this PhD.

 

As far as half-marathon training, this was week 9.  I hadn’t written about the training before now, because honestly, I didn’t think I would get this far.  In fact, I haven’t even registered for the run.  I’m still that hesitant.

This week’s training was fine.  I had to cut a mile off my Tuesday run, because of my deadline, but the other two runs were fine.  I even was able to make it to Pilates on Wednesday, which was much needed.

Most of my issues are mental at this point.  It’s so hard to look at my times and see how far behind I am other runners my age.  I’m literally taking twice as long to complete runs as most other people and it’s so hard.  I know I’ve done this to myself, and I know it won’t change overnight, but I am very disappointed in myself, that I couldn’t follow through with the goals I set for myself that I hoped to achieve by my 40th birthday.  I’ll still be about 40 pounds more than I wanted for that, and it’s very discouraging.  No wonder I’m so slow!

It honestly makes me wonder if I should even bother doing the run.  I’m going to take a ridiculously long time and it’s going to be hard.  I keep saying after every long run, if it goes ok that I’ll register.  And I still haven’t the courage.  Next Sunday’s run is 9 miles, my longest run ever and it’s a bit daunting to be honest.

Hopefully by then I will have made a decision.

 

Here’s a picture of Bailey from earlier today.

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Hello there!  I’ve been absent, I know.  I’ve been terribly busy, but that really is no excuse, as I have time to waste lots of time on the internet doing other things.  Anyways. . . what have I been up to?

1. I took a quick trip to London.

It was just a quick overnight jaunt, but it was incredible.  I went down to see Three Days in the Country (which if you know me, that should be no surprise.)  The play is absolutely amazing; both Mark Gatiss and John Simm were brilliant!  And I had a great seat with a perfect view of Mark’s  . . . .assets.  😉  I really need to spend a day writing up all my theatre trips this year!

After the play, this happened.  🙂

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2.  I’ve been training for a half-marathon!

I’ve been doing a lot of running!  I’ve just started week 8 of my training plan, and I feel pretty good.  Tired, but good.  Also, rungry!  I’m actually pretty impressed with myself as I’ve only missed one training run in the 7 weeks that I’ve been training.  I rolled my ankle on week 6, so I took a day off to make sure I hadn’t mangled it again.  It was a bit tender, but it didn’t swell or bruise.  Ice and resting helped it, and I was fine to continue on.

3.  I’ve been writing.  And writing.  And even more writing.

My thesis has been progressing.  Not with any amazing speed of course, but progressing all the same.  I have my secondary annual review in 10 days, so I’m freaking the fuck out, basically.  I have to get this chapter finished by the 9th and I am feeling a tiny bit hopeful.  If all goes well, I will be able to finish up my PhD.  If not, well, I don’t want to talk about it right now.

4. I went to the Doctor Who series 9 premiere!

With all the running and all the writing I’ve been doing, I haven’t had much time for fun (not since I saw Three Days in the Country).  I’ve been pretty focused on getting my work done, so it was nice to take last Thursday to first get my hair done, and then pop over to Edinburgh for the premiere.

The episode was brilliant, and that’s all I’m allowed to say.  🙂

Afterward, there was a Q&A with Steven Moffat and Brian Minchin, which was pretty cool.

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I can’t wait to watch the episode again on September 19th.

Other than that, my life has been rather boring.  I hope to start planning my 40th birthday theatrepalooza very soon (Yay Hamlet!  Yay Three Days in the Country!  Yay high tea on my birthday!), and will share all the plans as soon as they are made.

 

Here’s a random Bailey 🙂

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Oh and if you’re interested, new hair

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