My apologies for not having written for several weeks. I’ve been trying to think of ways to put this that don’t end up sounding a little depressing and self-pitying. But here goes: it appears I won’t be going to Australia after all.
So my home School didn’t support my funding application, on the basis that it was for a poster presentation. I was still considering putting in an application to the university’s Graduate School Travel Prize, but something occurred to me. Well, two things, actually. First, even if I managed to secure the maximum available (£600), that wouldn’t even cover the flights, as the price has been rising steadily (yes, I’ve been watching closely!). I would have to find the money on top of this to cover the conference fees, accommodation, and the need to eat food occasionally. Given the tight budgets we operate within as a family, I realised I would really struggle to achieve this – and on top of that, it seemed a little cheeky to ask my friends to buy stuff and sponsor me in order to essentially go on a jolly (but useful) trip far, far away.
The second thing relates to the lack of support from my School: it wasn’t just financial support that was missing. Alongside this was the need for study leave – and without financial support, I couldn’t expect them to offer study leave. The amount of time I would be able to spend in Oz was becoming smaller and smaller, and of course would require me to use annual leave. And I don’t think my family would have been particularly thrilled about that!
Now, as every good parent knows, there’s a line we use to smooth over our children’s disappointment when they can’t do something they really, really want to at this precise moment: ‘Never mind, there will be plenty more opportunities…’ I’ve heard this phrase A LOT over the past couple of weeks, and I get it. Of course there will be another conference in another year and probably somewhere equally exciting. But the child in me is cross: I really, really wanted to go to Australia, and I was working hard to try and achieve this. Barriers are not my favourite thing, and sometimes in life it seems there are many, and that they are very painful when you knock into them.
But hey, by nature I am annoyingly optimistic, so of course I’m going to be fine about this. Hence my waiting a couple of weeks to write it down: if I’d written this a while ago, it would have resulted in an unacceptable degree of sarcasm on my part, and a lot of ‘You ok, hun?’ messages from my lovely friends.
So here’s the thing. I’m really enjoying blogging, particularly on a platform that’s all mine (much as I love PhD Life and Piirus, obvs). So I’m going to continue with this project – it’s just that for now, it will be my metaphorical, rather than physical, travels. And believe me, there’s much to say about the adventures of a midwife who’s undertaken a PhD and is now attempting to achieve that visionary ideal, the clinical academic identity…