As the year draws to a close, I like to look back and remind myself of what’s been given to me in terms of opportunities over the last 12 months. SGSAH has, without doubt, been hugely helpful, not only with funding and providing opportunities for me personally (like writing the blog), but also through the advice they provide on things like mental wellbeing, networking, finding external training and funding, and offering access to courses otherwise inaccessible.
I’ve decided to start making my own waves in a small way as well, not only by attending conferences, training events, and talks, but by joining professional and relevant organisations. I’m now a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, the Scottish Genealogical Society, and the Scottish Railway Preservation Society to name a few. They aren’t all necessarily formal academic institutions or networks, but they all provide me with connections, resources, places to research and work in peace, and new groups of very well-read people to talk, present, and write for.
It isn’t just about writing a big book for me. Sure, that might be your only PhD goal and that’s fine! You do you! But I want my PhD to be more of a continuing professional development experience. I want to graduate with memberships, publications, attendance invitations and presentations under my belt, as well as new letters after my name and a new title on my driving licence. It’s about broadening my abilities, and this year has shown me that I’m doing precisely that. I can now do more, research better, talk to more people, write on more subjects than this time last year.
As ever, we are always looking for guest bloggers and pieces for the blog. If you’d like to contribute, have an informal chat, or find out more about the SGSAG Blog, feel free to email Jimmy at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit us up on Twitter!