A New Challenge

This blog has been pretty quiet for a long while. I just don’t seem to have found the time or motivation to post here, even though I still have plenty of rants about software and software development. With that in mind I thought I’d have a go at breathing a bit more life into it, and the perfect opportunity has now arisen.

It has been a long held aim of mine to complete a PhD. Since my first degree, I have slowly worked my way though a slew of ‘A’ levels, A Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip), a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and eventually a Master of Science (MSc), all while continuing in full-time work. With the creation of a new university in my home town of Ipswich, the time seemed ripe to apply. I began asking around in early 2016, and approached the university in a more concrete way in the summer. By the time I got to meet with a potential supervisor it was the 20th of October, but at least it seemed progress was being made. Then I received an email explaining that if I wished to apply for a January 2017 start, I had to get a completed application and proposal in by the 31st of the same month. 11 days to fill in several application forms and put together a compelling, fully researched and referenced proposal. It was a huge rush, but with the assistance of the postgraduate administrator at the time, and a lot of help from my potential supervisor in reviewing my proposal, I did manage to get everything submitted on time. A short while later I attended an interview to discuss my proposal, which seemed to go well. Then began a period of waiting.

In one email or another I had been informed that there would likely be a decision ‘early January’, so I waited through November and December, then sent an email timidly asking if there was any progress a week or so into January. A few tidbits of information came my way, but still no decision. I was asked to keep 25th January free for an induction day at UOS, and when we got to the day before I asked what I should do, and was recommended to come along, even though things were still not entirely sorted out. I took the day off work and went along, to find that, unlike the other applicants, I could not actually be enrolled or be issued an id card. For the next few days I continued to chase the postgraduate admissions people, until, eventually I did receive a letter from the university and an email with a student number and began the actual enrolment process on the first day of February 2017. As of this writing I have a university id and a password which works with some (but not all) university systems but still no id card, so I can’t actually get in to any of the buildings, but it’s getting closer…

All of which leads to the point of this story. Over the next five to six years I plan to fill my time with researching, reading, writing, speaking and generally living my PhD topic, and with any luck I will blog my thoughts and progress here. Not that this blog will be completely taken over by study, though. I will still write here about other fields of software development, and it seems entirely likely to me that if I’m in the habit of writing, I’m more likely to write here generally.

Everything I have heard and read reckons a PhD is a significant challenge, requiring continued resilience, enthusiasm and determination, so I can’t know what the future holds. But it certainly feels like a grand adventure!