I can’t let 2017 pass by without reflecting on all the good things it has brought to my academic life. I’ve had four jobs this year; firstly starting in the Geography department at Cambridge where I was a post-doc, secondly as Director of Studies in Geography at Gonville and Caius College, thirdly a short stint at UCL STEaPP, before finally landing a permanent lectureship at UEA. It’s been a defining year!
One of the best things about doing academic research is getting papers published! It’s such a privilege to be paid to research things of personal interest, which you can then write-up and share with the world. I started a posterboard outside my office at UEA where I attached all different types of publications from the year – academic papers, workshop reports, blogposts, and news articles. Looking at the board (pictured below), it was quite a productive year, even if quite a few papers are still in review.
2018 should be even better though as I’m aiming to achieve 10-15 academic publications – this certainly seems possible with 3 papers out in January 2018, 2 invited book chapters, a further 5 papers in review, and several more to be written. I’ve always been blessed with fantastic teams of co-authors, who make the writing process such a joy! My productivity is a testament to the constructive collaborations that I’ve been part of over the last few years. It is absolutely crucial to engage in multi-authored research. A senior Geography colleague once told me off for writing too many multi-authored papers as I would lose my individual voice. I’ve learned that such advice is absolute nonsense – large, multi-disciplinary teams bring a wealth of talents to the table, and help to plug the significant areas of weakness that would be present if I tried to do everything on our own. The world’s biggest problems require us to work together, not on our own.
What else happened in 2017 that brought a smile to my face – well two of my second years at Caius got a First, two finalists wrote First Class dissertations, and all of my students did incredibly well 🙂 I got to travel to glorious Ghent for a conference, and attended a Parliamentary launch of a piece of work that I was involved with (which also made Today in Parliament on Radio 4 [16.35 in]). I also started this blog to share the positive stories of being an academic. Moving forwards I’ve started a list of people who would like to share their own positive stories about academia and they are going to do guest blogs. Do get in touch if you would also like to do this. Merry Christmas and here’s to a productive and optimistic New Year!