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Lois - finishing up and moving on
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Name: Lois
PhD discipline: Archeology
Area(s) of work: University teaching
Year of graduation: 1997
Date of Interview: 08/06/2008

Now Playing: Lois - finishing up and moving on
Lois explores the period of transition between finshing her PhD and moving into a job.

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When I was coming towards the end of my PhD funding, which is obviously the crunch point, and the PhD wasn't finished (as it rarely is I think) I had to work out 'well, okay, how am I going to fund myself until I've finished it?' And my supervisor and the other staff in the department were very helpful, and it was actually then that identified the opportunity for me because I had the computing skills and I had the archaeology skills, and the life long learning centre at my institution was currently looking coincidentally for two people, one for computing and one for archaeology so again it seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up because I had those two skill sets. So I was interviewed for the job and got it. I was probably more focused on 'I need funding,' I need an income, rather than 'am I really able to do this job.' But as it turns out, I was very able to do it and I very much enjoyed it right from the beginning, although the first year was a struggle because I was doing new teaching. It was a new job but I was also trying to finish my PhD at the same time.

Was there a blur between the transitions of getting a job and finishing the PhD?

Yeah, I suppose the transition was actually the fourth year of my PhD. And I probably didn't do that much work on my PhD for about the first six months probably of getting my job so, you know, I would have started in September or something. I probably didn't really return to doing much on the PhD until about Easter because there was just so much with the job, getting my head around it, preparing teaching you know that was a full-time job. So yeah, if you like, that was the job and then I kind of came back to doing the PhD in the summer term and the summer vacation. And that was pretty intensive then to get it finished but as for the transition between being a PhD student and then becoming a working academic, that was very spread out really.

Because I've stayed in the same institution as I did my PhD, that year was quite interesting because I was having to deal with people in the department where I was a student, but I was a member of staff in another department and that was quite interesting because they still regarded me as being their student, when actually I was taking on a very different role and I was sort of being an ambassador for the department I was working for and actually having to make that professional link with that department for my students, who were also studying that discipline. So that was quite interesting. And it's still quite interesting actually and I think I've been doing this job for 10 years I think now and it's still quite interesting because the people in that department – I sometimes feel that they still treat me a bit as a student. That's probably just me feeling that, which is negative, but also quite positive because they're quite interested in what I'm doing because I'm an ex-student from that department so they're quite interested in what's going on here in relation to that discipline.

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