Wednesday 27 March 2024

Let's Return to Academia

So I graduated in 2021 and now it's 2024. Can time stop going so quickly, please! Now the last time I was properly posting on here I wrote about not getting funding for a PhD. I had spent the later months of 2021 applying for iGGi and a studentship at York University to research memory and video games. I worked hard alongside my prospective supervisor to prepare my proposal, but sadly couldn't secure funding. What have I done since then? I went to work in IT for a bit, but more importantly I managed to achieve a life goal! I lived in Japan for a year. I went to study Japanese language in Tokyo and got to travel all over the country, meeting lots of wonderful people, having interesting experiences and eating plenty of quality food. I'd have loved to have worked there long term, but it was proving difficult to acquire work that didn't involve teaching kids English and I had become burnt out by the classroom setting. 
Whilst in Japan academia kept calling back to me. I made friends with many visiting researchers from all kinds of fields. It was making me hopeful about researching in Japan, but I soon found out they only got to conduct research in Japan by already being part of a programme back in their home countries. I contacted as many universities there as I could and got the same answer. It was a huge shame to figure this out, but during my time in Japan the idea of being a psychology researcher stayed with me, I knew it was my calling. 

I came back to the UK in September 2023 under distressing circumstances. My cousin had just a couple of weeks before had taken his own life. Our family had been coping with the situation for about two years prior but with the lack of mental health support in the UK it was inevitable. It could have been prevented and it pains me to know that if services were actually available and functioning he could still be with us.

Still determined to become a PhD I started looking into taking a masters to become more competitive for funding. I had applied for the taught Cyberpsychology Masters course at Nottingham University, but that option was unviable with student finance not covering accommodation and tuition. I then found out about Masters of Research, which sounded like the perfect option for me as it's primed to get you ready for life as a researcher. I got in touch with my old profs at Leeds Beckett and got together making a new proposal whilst still in Japan. Though I was hoping to start in October, due to classic bureaucratic shenanigans I had to join the February intake. This did give me opportunity to work for a few months at least and rebuild savings. 

I am now two months into my MRes where I am researching Leadership in Online Communities that Conduct Offline Events. I am using qualitative methods rather than the quantitive methods I used in my undergrad project. I was always interested in mixed methods and where as I did quantitive in undergrad as I felt at the time they'd make me more employable, I have really fallen in love with qualitative methods. You really cannot get down to the heart of human experience through classic scientific method and maths, language and storytelling is incredibly important to really understand people's psychology.

I look forward to learning more through my research!

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