Support From Strangers

This week has been pretty astonishing. After I posted last week’s blog about the disaster that was my transfer seminar a mate of mine, Cheryl, who I was lucky enough to meet at a conference and who I have since relentlessly pestered into being my friend said that she could contact a few of her academic pals. I obviously gushingly accepted hoping that they’d be able to offer me a little advice. What actually happened was that an amazing academic and another professor sent a brilliant email with tonnes of useful suggestions. Upon my thanks one of them offered to Skype with me on Saturday morning. I panic researched as much as I could before hand, hoping to not look too appallingly stupid. I actually found loads of really interesting stuff; it turns out that post colonialism and disability studies have already attacked the importance of studying community produced texts, which is what I need to academically justify my use of only trans authors. The Skype session left me with pages of notes to follow up on and the sense that perhaps the world wasn’t ending.

Since then I’ve continued my research and completed the report that goes with the transfer seminar. I’m going to finish editing it now and send it to my supervisors ready for our meeting. I’d hoped to send it yesterday but my housemate had a breakdown after two days of no sleep and only had an hour and a half left in which to had to hand in his masters dissertation. Unfortunately the print shop’s printer was out of order. Luckily I own both a pinter and a spiral binder, so we had a somewhat panicked thirty minutes of putting everything together and a very speedy drive up to his campus.

The main thing that I’ll take from this week is the importance of community. The PhD community on twitter has been an amazing source of support and the extended root system of connections that comes from it is even more mind-blowing. I would never have imagined that a complete stranger would take 40 minutes out of their Saturday to help me through an academic crisis, but they did and I couldn’t be more thankful.

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