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Identity Crisis

Emerging into sunlight!

Emerging into sunlight!

After months spent as a virtual recluse battling against all manner of hurdles to complete my thesis it felt like a real treat to emerge out into the winter sunshine yesterday and wandered up to Warwick Medical School.   This was just a flying visit, to put last minute touches to some future plans, and now I am back in my regular haunt on main campus.   However, all being well I hope to be spending much more time “up there” in the future…

It was as I was wandering back down the hill that my thoughts turned back to a conversation I had a little while ago, on the topic of “identity”.  The common question of “What do you do?” often being an early probe in conversations, currently provides my first dilemma. I am no longer a student, having ceased to be registered with the University at the end of 2013.  However, my daily activities seem to have changed little, except that instead of writing my thesis I am now translating my work into journal papers, blog articles and future research proposals. But I am not a student.  Yet neither am I a Post-Doc, for I have to wait to have my viva before such exciting developments can occur. So prompts the question: “What am I?”

Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis

The answer to this question is further complicated from my seeming inability (reluctance?) to define myself under a traditional “discipline”.  In academia, as in life, one is often identified by a series of labels. People are “Historians”, “Mathematicians”, “Philosophers” and “Economists”.  Recently I was asked “What are you?” to which I explained that I saw myself as a researcher within Infection Prevention.

Apparently this was not the accepted approach…

I needed to “be” something. I explained I had a Psychology degree, but I refute that I am a “Psychologist”, although according to some definitions perhaps I am…  I have a business MA, but I do not see myself as exclusively in this field either.  Having spent a number of years in manufacturing I could define myself as an “Analyst”, but that isn’t solely what I do.  Finally, all being well, I will soon have a doctorate in “Engineering”.  But, looking at what I do, and where I see myself going, I don’t feel that the identity “Engineer” quite covers it either….

So, what am I?  And further, does it matter?  Answers on a postcard* please… Be kind.

Postcard

*Tweets, comments, owls and smoke signals also accepted.

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A change of scenery yesterday – spent some time with my young “research consultant” (5yrs) – who accompanied me to campus for a very early University taster session…  We had a great time, including an interesting peak inside the IDL, a wander around the beautiful campus (feeding ducks and dodging showers!) , and watched some of the Olympics on the big screen currently up in the Piazza.   Oh, and there was cake…naturally!

It was an enjoyable time, and a vital break from some heavy weeks of both active research and data analysis – and has given me a much needed ‘fresh’ feel with which to approach today.  Next week I have a promising meeting set up at my NHS host site, and an interview with a great Healthcare Professional about the Audit Process; looking forward to the information both these very different opportunities may bring.

Our website is now open for comments and discussions, and those at UHCW are welcome to join – please email me, or click here, for more details.

Next week I will be updating about the plans for future research – currently things are looking rather intriguing….

Enjoy the Olympics!

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