Day in the Life of an Academic #9: All sorts of meetings

It’s time to offer you a peak into yet another facet of an academic’s life, with another “Day in the Life” post. This time, a post looking at Wednesday, October 30th: a day that was full of meetings.


I woke up at 5ish, and got ready to go to work: I have a meeting in central London at 8h30m. I decided to drive to Brunel, park there, and then take public transport to central London. At this time of the day, there is no traffic or, indeed, many people on the tube. So, I arrive at my destination (Westminster) with plenty of time to spare.


I go for a walk over Westminster Bridge and the south side of the river. When I lived in London and studied at the LSE (for my PhD), I used to take the ferry up and down the Thames, every day. It was so much better than taking the bus or the tube, specially with a little child (my daughter was a toddler at the time) – we spent so many hours playing with sticker books in that boat!


At 8ish, my colleague Weifeng Chen tells me that he has arrived, so I head back over the river, and to the Parliament, where we are participating in a meeting.


My colleague Ashley Braganza was invited to make a short presentation, and he kindly invited Weifeng and myself to come along and participate in the ensuing discussion with politicians, public servants and various business professionals, on the impact of AI in the workplace.


After the meeting, I dash off to Brunel, as I am meeting students for office hours. And, after that, I have another meeting: this time, with two colleagues to discuss some changes to the modules that they teach, and the impact of those changes on workload.


After they leave, I grab something to eat and, then, at 12h45, I have yet another meeting: this time, with colleagues in the division of marketing to talk about developments in our programmes, a new mentoring programme for new staff, and various other matters. The meeting finishes at 14h45m, and I am exhausted. We hadn’t all met in a long time, so there were a lot of issues to discuss. Plus, there was very animated discussion around some of the topics that people feel passionately about… which is great… but tiring.


I really need to focus, and work on a paper that is due in 48 hours. But I am finding it really hard to calm down and concentrate. So, I ended up spending about an hour just dealing with e-mails.


At 15h45m, two colleagues come over to my office, so we can go through some last-minute preparation for an event that our research cluster is hosting the day after (Thursday): a workshop with practitioners (public and private sector), plus some academics, to talk about the strategic opportunities and challenges created by artificial intelligence for businesses.


At 4ish, I am focused enough to start working on the paper. I start by editing what I wrote, already, and then move on to work on the discussion section. I manage to work on the paper for about an hour. It is less than I needed, but more than I thought I would manage at the end of such a busy day with so many meetings. So, I am happy!


I leave at 5h30m, which means one thing: Traffic. Lots of it.


On the way home, I stop by M&S to get some food for dinner. After dinner, we watch The Apprentice. I check my e-mails one more time, in case there is something important about the next day’s event. Everything seems to be OK. So, it’s lights out for me: it’s 10h30m pm, and I am dying to go to bed.


So, this is what I got up to last October, 30th. While it was a somewhat unusual day in that I don’t get to go to Parliament that often, it was also very typical in the sense that it covered most aspects of my daily life as an academic: meeting students, running a division, working on papers, engaging with the practitioners and other researchers…


What does a “day in the life” look like for you?

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