This week was one of those weeks where I felt a little bit like a real-life academic. Or at least a real-life postgrad.
(Disclaimer: pretty sure I’m not a real life academic. I know that. Just let me have it, ok?)
First of all, one of my postgrad friends and I chatted to one of the volunteer journalists at a local Adelaide radio station about Anzac Day, to help him put together a program that will air next week. I’ve been on the radio/talked to various media people a few times before, mostly to do with Youth Parliament programs I was involved in during high school, but this felt different. He wanted to talk to us because of our “expertise” (I use the term loosely) on the subject. It was one of the first times I’ve actually felt like a proper postgrad who knows what they’re talking about a little bit.
Then, on Friday, I led our history circle (a discussion group the history postgrads run most weeks) in discussing popular and academic history. I wasn’t nervous, exactly, but there’s always the fear it won’t go as well as you hope, or no one will show up, or everyone will disagree with you. Thankfully that wasn’t the case – we had a really good turn out and the discussion was really good (and I didn’t need to use my emergency prompts!). Having an opportunity to lead the history circle made me feel like a proper postgrad, not just someone sitting in the office.
It’s hard to explain, but for me there’s always a point where I feel like I’m starting to ‘belong’. This week was that week. Going out for drinks/dinner/ice cream on Friday, after a week of thesis structure planning, research, endnote, interviews, and academic discussions, was exactly what I needed. I still miss Edinburgh a lot, so much so that my heart hurts if I think about it, but I finally feel as though I’ve found my place back in Adelaide (not to get all soppy…).
The first two months (already – what!) of my masters have been so challenging but at the same time so amazing – I’ve made wonderful new friends, I’ve slotted back into the world of academia, and I’ve remembered how much I love reading and writing about the past. Most importantly, I’ve realised that, as difficult as the decision was, it was the right one. (At least for the moment.)
Here’s to the next two months!