Writing collaborative publications during your PhD

Writing comes hard to some of us but, like most things, it does get easier with practice. One thing’s for sure, if you’re interested in an academic career post-PhD (or are employed in one now) writing and the ability to produce academic publications is a critical skill. Inger wrote a post a short while ago about why publishing during your PhD is a must for enhancing your career prospects. This post is more about how to get started in publishing and a look at collaborative writing as one way to make this happen.

Is a PhD like a reality TV contest?

Anyway, it got me thinking (again) about the similarities between doing a PhD and taking part in a reality TV show. I have an unhealthy obsession with reality TV, which I have accepted as part of the brain damage I suffered while doing my PhD. While I’m selective about which ones I watch, I find the whole genre endlessly fascinating for the way it portrays learning as a process of self discovery and transformation. Bear with me here, I think I’m onto something and want to throw these ideas past you in the form of an academic mash up of my own before I go all academic and write a paper on it.

Whingeing Wednesdays and bitch buddies

Interestingly, the word ‘whingeing’ is derived from the Old English ‘hwinan’ : “the sound of arrows whizzing through the air” and ‘hwinsian’: “to whine like a dog”. This derivation implies whingeing is a form of passive warfare, or social irritant, which is perhaps best ignored. However, when someone tells a trouble to another, the opposite is more likely to be true – telling troubles can bind us together. In fact, sites like PhD Comics or this blog wouldn’t be nearly as popular if they weren’t full of troubles talk!

5 ways to look more clever than you actually are

In my job I have the privilege to work with some extraordinarily intelligent people. I mean – really clever. Intimidatingly clever. Clever to the point where I dare not open my mouth in some meetings for fear someone will discover I shouldn’t really be there. It’s not easy to live around all these clever clogs and be of average intelligence, so I have some coping strategies. These strategies have been developed by watching how clever people behave. The general principle here is: if I act like a clever person, I may become more clever – or at least I will appear to be more clever (which, existentially speaking, is the same thing).

PhD derision

“I told one of the mothers what I was studying for my PhD and she laughed in my face. Not kindly interested laughter either – out right derision. She paused after this and said “Why the hell would you bother doing that!” To add insult to injury, she went on to tell me she had a really difficult job – as a make up artist “