March review

While I am determined to maintain the habit of the monthly review, I can’t say I take much pride in the contents of this one. Naturally, I have only myself to blame for both the results, and my own disappointment. Judge all you want, I’m not particularly concerned about the course of public opinion. And, if that obviously defensive introduction does not deter you, read on for the month of March.

March began with a cascade of deadlines and other high-stress events and then a solid week of gloomy inaction.

– Transfer Project: As mentioned in previous entries, the DPhil programme here requires very little in the way of coursework outside of the two little milestones. The first is called the Transfer of Status where the ‘probationary research student / DPhil’ is confirmed as a ‘DPhil candidate’. That project consists of a 3-5,000 word essay (usually a short bit of research on the larger DPhil project) and a 500-1000 word abstract (and some paperwork that the supervisor and College academic tutor sign before it all goes to the Faculty).

All things considered, this went reasonably well and while the abstract was a little rough, I think the essay itself was very solid. It was essentially an extended ‘problem’ paper with a good chunk of historiography included. The abstract was a very short summary of the project and a more detailed description of the sources I hope to use and methodology.

That was all due at the History Faculty on the Friday, 8 March and I had it done for my supervisor to sign and send on by Wednesday. I also gave a 15 minute talk on that project for the seminar I am part of (which apparently went well but I was not remotely comfortable with it). However, the paperwork did not get to the College people until late on Friday and since that office was mostly pissing away the Friday with a fund-raising thing, I doubt they would have gotten it done and back to me before the Faculty office closed at 4pm. A note to the Faculty, warning them that the project would be late, received no reply.

This was disconcerting since it’s very clear in the paperwork that a late submission requires permission and other forms and there is vague portents of doom in all of this. But I often forget that at Oxford, as in most UK institutions, the rules are only there for the few that regularly break them or for those who want to make lives difficult. Otherwise, these rules can (and are) ignored with cheerful abandon. Such was the case with this late delivery. All is well.

Of course, now I have to wait until next term for the short interview with Faculty people about said project. Sprint and then stand-still is the way of things here and it can really mess up your joints.

Funding applications: There were three due the same week as the transfer project. I did start on those well in advance so there was less of a panic to finish those than normal. Still, it added to the general stress of the week.

Conference applications: I rattled off one conference abstract that was due March 1, and while I didn’t get in as a presenter, I’m not that upset. I have 4 conference papers for this year and that’s well more than the norm for someone in my discipline or at this level in their career.

Book proposal: Yeah, that happened. The editor has it and I will probably hear what he thinks reasonably soon.

There is more, but this review is already a week late and I should be writing on something else.



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