Sunday, March 19, 2006

I love academia

I found out today that the book being published in which I have a paper/chapter is being released this month. The first hard copies are coming out next week and are going to be sent to us (the contributers to the book) by mail. I'm not sure where/how the book will be distributed and if they'll get copies in Kuwait but if not I'll get some extra copies sent over to me. But I'm sure Kuwait will get some.

It feels so strange to officially be a published writer. It's a bit scary. You're putting yourself out there, presenting something you created to the world, and you have no idea what to expect. My paper received an extremely positive response when I presented it last year at an academic conference so I'm not too worried about criticism. Plus some of the other contributers to the book (we were all in the same workshop at the conference) are very well known academics in the field and are extremely well-established, so being in a book with them is a good start for me (especially the editors). But it's still nerve-wracking. I'm the youngest one in there and the only one who not only doesn't have a PhD but hasn't even begun my PhD (a couple of others are almost done and their papers were part of their PhD research). When I presented the paper I hadn't even begun my MA yet, which everyone was shocked about, in the best possible way (in that they were impressed that I had managed to do such high caliber work at such an early stage in my academic career).

You have moments in this academic world we live in when you remember exactly why and how much you love academia. I've had one of those weeks. It's been a tough one, with all the problems in my flat and simultaneously working hard to finish up two more papers before early April. But at the same time as all that stress, I've had a feel-good week. I realized this week exactly how happy I am in my particular department here. The faculty in the history department at my university are brilliant. Not only are they all top tier academics in their respective fields, but at the same time they are so supportive and helpful to students - which surprisingly is not necessarily the case in a lot of other departments - not to the extent that we get it in the history programme. Some of them just go out of their way to help you, even when you don't necessarily directly ask for it. For example, I had asked one of my professors (who is also head of the department) to write me a reference for my scholarship applications. His work is related to my field but not as directly as my supervisor's, so it really had never occurred to me to discuss my PhD proposal with him while I was working on it with my supervisor. Anyway, I sent him my proposal to read before writing my reference, and when I went in to pick them up from him he had prepared all this information for me - giving me names and Email addresses of other historians to contact, articles to check out, etc. Plus later he Emailed me more useful information, and then again later in the week he gave me some more leads. He really went out of his way to help me, just out of his own interest in my topic. Once you find that in a department, you know you're home. Now I feel so nicely cushioned in the department as I start to prepare for my next three years of research, with two (and in reality, even more) wonderfully helpful and brilliant professors to turn to for support.

And at the same time as all of this, I feel so happily settled in my university, and it's kind of sad because next week is actually the last week of term. After Easter break we only have exam revision sessions and then exams in May/June. Then everyone breaks off to go work on their dissertations. The frustrating thing about it is that, although some of my good friends here I have been close with since last term, only now do I feel like I have a group of friends that I get along with 100% on all levels. People who think like me, who enjoy doing the same things as me, who find the same things funny and same things annoying, who I can laugh for hours with, and who are starting to feel like old friends. It's a support system that you really need as a postgrad I've realized. A small group of people who are academically like-minded, who are in your same general field, and who approach life the same way you do. It takes time to find that core group of people at this stage in your life, and unfortunately, as this case is, once you do feel totally settled it's already almost over (I'm the only one doing the PhD for certain next year). Oh well, I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

The moral of all these stories: Academia is the best world to live in.


  • Sorry! I don't like reading long posts, but I decided to leave you a comment to say that I didn't feel like reading! :oP

    By Blogger The Stallion, at 3/19/2006 7:42 am  

  • Not to sound like the doting big sister, but I am SO proud of you :) Getting your work published at your age before even starting your PhD is amazing. And it sounds like you found the right place for what you love. Yay!

    By Blogger Raine, at 3/19/2006 7:45 am  

  • Congrats kleio! So proud of you!! Academia is the place to be!!! Woohoo!!!

    By Anonymous red, at 3/19/2006 10:09 am  

  • Bravo Kleio and good luck,

    sorry, but may I know the subject of your paper? :)

    By Blogger iDip, at 3/19/2006 12:27 pm  

  • Stallion: LOL! Ur nuts.

    Raine & Red: Thank you sisters! As the baby in a family of academics I'm finally almost up there with you guys! :)

    idip: Thanks! I'd love to share the subject of my paper with you, but unfortunately if I do that it would probably disclose my identity pretty quickly. But, if you're really interested send me an Email at q8kleio@gmail.com and I'll share with you there. :)

    By Blogger Kleio, at 3/19/2006 1:56 pm  

  • That was a lovely post - almost made me want to go back to college. Its a pity that I have to juggle studies between all the work. But your entry took me back to my wonderful college days.

    By Blogger Jags Mollu, at 3/19/2006 6:03 pm  

  • I think I graduated from the school of NUTS!

    By Blogger The Stallion, at 3/22/2006 7:31 am  

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