I don't know about anyone else but having spent the vast majority of my life in education I've come to see the beginning of a new academic year with just as much significance as the 31st of December (and that's saying something being Scottish and therefore very fond of Hogmanay!).
I always used to take great joy in back-to-school shopping; carefully selecting more stationery than any student would ever need and choosing a shiny new schoolbag. I would also always go back to school with a whole lot of fresh enthusiasm.
What do I want to get out of this academic year?
PhD life doesn't seem that much different. I tend not to invest in a brand new school bag every September but with my first year upgrade interview out of the way today, I am officially a second year PhD candidate. Which brings me to what this post is about: my New Year's resolutions! What do I want to get out of this academic year, both personally and professionally?
My Academic Resolutions
Pass 2nd year: A fairly obvious one but I would also like to have finished most of my archival research and have a couple of chapters under my belt by this time next year. Wish me luck!
Learn Gaelic: I recently received funding (from the SGSAH's Student Development Fund) for Gaelic language lessons at the University of Edinburgh's evening classes and will be starting these very soon. I definitely want to try to make the most of this opportunity. If anyone knows of any good resources for practicing, do let me know!
Improve (and actually use!) my other languages: In a similar vein to above, I really want to make an active effort to actually use the languages I can already speak. I used to have a pretty high level of German, decent French and some conversational Dutch and I really don't want to lose these skills as I'm sure they'll come in useful! I have been spending my recent Monday evenings at a Yakety Yak German Language Cafe in Edinburgh. I've really enjoyed brushing up on my German in a relaxed and fun setting and I remember more than I thought I would which is good to know! I may even give the French one a go on Wednesday...
And one personal one...
Run a marathon: I've been running for the past year and a half and I find it keeps me sane during PhD madness. It gives me something to succeed at that isn't purely intellectual or academic. I'm never going to be the fastest runner or win any races and I'm okay with that because I'm constantly trying to beat myself and do my best. Having run a few half-marathons this year, I would love to have run a full marathon by this time next year! Watch this space.
Does anyone else make New Academic Year's resolutions? What are your priorities for the coming year? Tweet and let me know your grand plans @maxinebranagh