In the past, I’ve found a lot of joy, purpose, and fulfilment in writing my own blog. It gave me a platform to express my opinions, share my experiences, and simply be creative at times. Although, my greater hope was that my posts would be helpful or at least interesting. I find great joy and purpose in helping others, in being useful. I’m very much a yellow lab at heart. What was interesting though was writing about those things helped me process and more fully develop my thoughts and positions. It forced me to consider how they would be received, especially with the political climate in the states. While this helped my writing and public engagement skills, it more importantly provided a very structured form of self-reflection; it helped me understand myself and others better.
Blogging for SGSAH has fulfilled many of the same needs for me, which is why I’m probably overly appreciative of the Twitter comments. They make me feel like I’ve done something right, that I’ve helped in a small way, that I’m useful, which is an oddly rare feeling in pursuing a PhD. It has also supplied a very structured form of reflection with a surprising added benefit. Much of the ‘advice’ I’ve written about are things that I’ve realised or learned from others over the past year or so, but it wasn’t until I sat down to write about it for an audience that I fully fleshed them out. Blogging forced me to outline practical and specific steps I could take to better implement those ideas, which I’ve found very helpful in taking my own advice. And there’s something about having it written and published that makes it easier to recall when I really need it; a power my amorphous internal thoughts didn’t seem to hold in the midst of anxiety.
What I didn’t expect was the sense of community I’ve found through writing this blog and what that community has done for my own wellbeing. I think we all know how isolating a PhD can be, but what I’ve found is that isolation really feeds into my feelings of being an imposter. You begin to think no one else is struggling with this, having a hard time with that, or feeling like I do, but when I post about those things I invariably get comments about how others have gone through the same experiences. It helps me feel more normal, that these struggles are not a sign that I’m unqualified, but are simply par for the course; growing pains of a sort.
So why write this post now? Well first to say thank you to all of you for being so encouraging and supportive; it’s really been motivating and keeps me excited to write the next post. But I also wrote this to encourage you all to write about your experiences as well, whether it’s in a journal, your own blog, or a guest blogger for SGSAH. I think you’ll find it incredibly helpful in processing your own experiences as well as rewarding. I also thought it was an appropriate time, in lieu of a guest blogger, to remind you all that the SGSAH blog is your platform as well. You can use it to process your experience, relate advice, or creatively express a piece of your research. I wanted to offer the reminder and encourage you because it’s been such a great experience for me and it would be remiss of me not to share it. I realise it can be a bit disconcerting, but remember it doesn’t have to be personal or a literary master piece. It can simply be whatever you want or need it to be. Happy writing!
We are always seeking new guest bloggers! If you have an idea for a blog post or would like to informally discuss writing for the SGSAH blog please get in touch with David via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with the blog on Twitter