Building Foundations- A message for those at the start of their PhD.

As we start a new academic year, our Chair reflects on the early stages of the PhD.

So much of the early stages of the PhD is understanding the PhD process and what is expected of you. Where is the bar we’re aiming for? What level of writing? What level of knowledge? What level of analysis? An original contribution to what now?! It’s learning; how you work, how you write, how you get the best out of yourself. Building relationships, with other PhD students, with your supervisors, with your networks. Building resilience. Building confidence. And learning the field, learning your research topic. That in-depth knowledge of your topic begins from year one.

We’re in the PhD for the long haul. It is, as many say, a marathon. And the PhD can take over your life, and the lives of people around you. What do you mean people aren’t interested in discussing Goffman and Foucault?! The PhD has a presence with you, in your mind, a companion. The things you put in place in the first year need to make sense for the distance. You can’t sprint or push through for the whole of the PhD. There may be sprinting moments, but the way you work needs to be sustainable for the longevity. Be kind to yourself. Build practices that make sense for you and make sense for the marathon.

The first part of the PhD is important. It feels like nothing is happening and you’re getting nowhere. But this is building your foundations; your working practices, your knowledge, your confidence. And your PhD rests on these foundations. They are essential. It may feel like you’re lost in those early days, going down blind alleys of reading, different directions, different distractions. Is this relevant? Is it important? It may feel that you’re not achieving anything, going around in circles. But the foundation-building of the first year is fundamental. Trust that it is important. You absolutely need it. It makes for a strong PhD resting on solid ground.

This stage matters. You’re doing the building. Be patient. Be sensible. Be kind to yourself.

Claire Davis, BSC Postgraduate Chair.

 

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Welcome from the BSC PG Committee

The first thing to say about the postgraduate committee of the BSC is that it’s yours – it belongs to you as postgraduate students of criminology. It’s purpose is to reflect and pursue your needs and interests. Postgraduates really do have influence over the work and direction of the BSC, more now than ever, so it’s a great time to get involved. So, what would you like from us? How would you like to communicate and engage with the BSC? What events would you like the BSC to run? We are keen to get your views on what you’d like from the BSC as criminology postgraduates, and will be running  ‘What do you Think?’ sessions on our Facebook group. One of the main things we’re working towards is getting a portfolio of events together, at different locations across the UK, dedicated to criminology postgraduate students. We want to run events that add value and support postgraduates, so please let us know if there is a theme or area you’d like us to look into for an event.

I was recently appointed as chair of the committee, taking over from the great work that Rachel and Anna had done previously. My main motivation to get involved with the BSC was the opportunity to provide events, workshops, seminars that positively contribute to the criminology postgraduate experience. So all those moments of ‘wouldn’t it be great if we had access to this?’ or ‘I really wish we has that event’, the postgraduate committee could do something about it.

I am massively excited about the work and the potential of the new postgraduate committee. Nicola has done amazing work so far with this blog, and I’m so excited to see how it develops from here. Sarah has fantastic ideas, some of which you’ll see at the conference. But of course, there’s always room for new ideas, so please do get in touch with either myself, Nicola or Sarah with any suggestions or comments you have. We’d be so pleased to hear from you.

So with that, we welcome you to the new BSC postgraduate blog! We look forward to reading about all of the interesting research that you’re doing, and very much hope that you enjoy the space and find all the discussions helpful.

Claire, Nicola and Sarah

Your Postgraduate Committee

Hello & Welcome..

Hello & welcome to the British Society of Criminology Postgraduate Blog.

The Postgraduate Committee is a sub-committee of the BSC and comprises of postgraduate research students and academic staff from universities across the UK. The aim of the Postgraduate Committee is to further the interests of current postgraduate students of criminology and related disciplines, and build connections between postgraduate students and the BSC Executive.

The Postgraduate Committee organises workshops and seminars for postgraduate students throughout the year, including a postgraduate event prior to the annual BSC conference.

Best wishes,

Your PG Committee – Claire, Sarah, Gareth, Steve & Nicola

&

Social Media Team – Gillian, Jessica & Nicola

Key Links:

Postgraduate conference

Get Involved

Find us on Facebook

Meet the committee

Become a BSC member

Find us on Twitter @BSCPG1

(The blog is generally administrated by Nicola Harding currently, if you have any queries or would like to contribute please feel free to email nicola.harding@stu.mmu.ac.uk or find her on twitter @NicolaAnnHarding).