A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I cleared out my PhD office ahead of my holidays to The Homeland. And now that I am back in my Heartland of Scotland, I have finally cleared through (most of) the bags and boxes of stuff I brought home.
Whilst I recycled or passed on quite a bit of my PhD office’s contents, I brought home the things I would need in my academic career (books, notebooks, and office supplies*). I also brought home things that won’t move with me to my next academic office, but things that serve as invaluable artefacts from my rewarding PhD experience (certificates, awards, and name badges).
These artefacts were collected over my time as a PhD student from various conferences, seminars, training events, and speaking engagements. For example, there are name badges from:
- My first SICSA PhD conference, where my poster was shortlisted for an award (St Andrews, Scotland)
- My first public presentation at the Fringe Festival (Edinburgh, Scotland)
- My first (and only!) conference that I attended wearing a cast (Zadar, Croatia)
- My first ASIST conference, which I travelled to with a grant from the John Campbell Trust (Copenhagen, Denmark)
- My last conference as a PhD student, where I presented my last paper written as a PhD student (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
There are also awards that I won for my academic work as well as my various roles on committees and activities that I undertook during my studies. For example:
- Best Paper and Best 5-Minute Madness presentation at the International Data and Information Management Conference (Loughborough, England)
- First Place for 3rd-year Presentation at the School of Computing PhD Conference (Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland)
- Principal’s Excellence Award for Outstanding Contribution to University Life by a Research Student (Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland)
There were also other awards for which I don’t have certificates. For example, I was awarded a membership to ASIST as well as a travel grant from the John Campbell Trust. I was also awarded a handful of grants to carry out research projects and events. These things didn’t provide me with physical artefacts, but they certainly added to my overall PhD experience.
I don’t know if my collection is on par with what other PhD students would acquire over the course of their studies. However, for my personal situation, I feel that I have amassed a decent little haul. Each little piece of the collection tells a big part of my PhD story, and each carries with it a treasured memory from my student life.
It would not have been possible to have such a collection without support from Edinburgh Napier University’s School of Computing and Centre for Social Informatics. My top-notch PhD supervisors, Professor Hazel Hall, Alistair Lawson, and Peter Cruickshank, were also instrumental in my ability to build this collection.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to do my PhD at an institution that recognised the importance of supporting students in their studies as well as their wider development as budding academics. These experiences have helped me to become a more capable and confident researcher and have provided me with the skills I need to succeed in my academic life.
Of course, now I have to figure out what to do with all of these wonderful artefacts!
* For the record: I only brought home the office supplies that I purchased myself, and not those that were from the school’s supplies. I am quite picky about my office supplies, and would rather spend my own money on my preferred stationery supplies and tools. Yes, I am a stationery geek!