December 2020 round-up

Happy to report that I am feeling much better this month. I am sure that it helps that the term has finished, that I have been waking up late, and that I haven’t been doing much beside cooking, reading, walking and the occasional jog. 

We came out of lockdown, and into Tier 2, on Dec 2nd. Though, we then went into Tier 4 on Dec 26th, following the discovery of a new strain of coronavirus. At least, the Covid19 vaccination programme has started. Fingers crossed, by this time next year, Covid19 will be just a memory.

On the writing front, December started with two easy wins: two paper submissions (one revision, and one new submission) where the work had been mostly done in November. I also received “major revision” for two other papers, which I am very happy with*. In addition, I coded interview data for another paper. Annoyingly, NVivo kept crashing (I checked various user forums, and this seems to be a problem for Mac users, following the latest OS update), so I ended up having to code the transcripts on Word, which was a pain!!!

On the research front, we continued the data collection for the Covid-19 App project, and the food waste project. With two other colleagues, I also submitted an application for external funding for a public engagement project; and started working on a proposal to organise a training workshop on research methods

As for the teaching, there was one last lesson for the Services Marketing module (focused on Q&A for the final assignment). Moreover, I reviewed, and signed off, the changes to two PhD theses that I examined earlier this year.

On the admin front, there was some redistribution of work, to help colleagues with very large marking loads. Plus, I organised a virtual secret Santa + quiz for the last meeting of the year (a modest attempt to replace the traditional staff Christmas party).

A nice touch, this month, was that my employer – Brunel University – awarded every member of staff a £100 bonus. Brunel has an initiative whereby we can nominate colleagues that went the extra mile at work for an £100 award. This year, they awarded the prize to all staff, as a way of thanking everybody for all the hard work that we have been putting in, since March, to support our students and each other. I thought that it was a lovely gesture!

This week marked not only the end of the month, but also the end of the year. So, as I always do, I spent some time reflecting on the rollercoaster that was 2020. Overall, despite all the problems caused by the coronavirus, it was a good year. I got to spend some unexpected extra time with the kids, we moved out of the flat, I started new projects, and our parents managed to escape the virus, so far. Really, I can’t complain. 

Something else that I always do, at the end December, is to spend some time setting intentions for the next year. 2021 is going to be a challenging year (Coronavirus, further lockdowns, recession, Brexit…). Thus, I am focusing on putting in place the processes and systems that will keep me going, rather than setting ambitious goals for the next 365 days. My word for 2021 is: “nourish”. I am using this word in a very broad sense: It is about nourishing my body, mind and soul so that I can keep going, as well as being a source of nourishment for others, to help them endure the challenges ahead.

Thank you, sincerely, for being there – for continuing to read the blog, for commenting, and for sending me resources. I wish you a good 2021. Reach out, if I can be of help. And, if you can, look out for others around you, too.

*In case you are not familiar with the academic journals’ process, when you submit a paper, it can either be rejected straight away, or go out for review. If it goes out for review, the outcome can be “accept”, “minor revision”, “major revision” or “reject”. The “accept” and “minor revision” options are very rare on the first round of revisions, especially in good journals. So, “major revision” is pretty much as good as it gets, as far as new submissions are concerned. A paper can go through various rounds of revisions, and still be rejected at the end. It’s a tough game.

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