Day in the Life of an Academic #13: Graduation

What I did, on Tuesday, 19th July. 

07h07m: Alarm goes off but, really, I have been awake for a while because we are in the middle of a heatwave and it’s hard to sleep. Get up, cold shower, coffee, quick breakfast, and head out of the door. Today I am going to Brunel, for one of the graduation ceremonies.

8h45m: Arrive at Brunel. I brought a suitcase to pack the remaining folders and books in my office, because I am leaving Brunel in September. So, I get started on emptying some of the shelves. It looks like yesterday I was doing the opposite!

9h15m: Head up to the room where we get robbed and ready for the graduation ceremony. Everybody is huddling under the air conditioning vent because IT.IS.REALLY.HOT. One of the organisers is walking around with some sort of fan around her neck, and I am jealous!

10h15m: The group leaves the building to head to the place where the ceremony is taking place. Though, it looks like there are severe delays on the tube (the trains are moving slowly because of the heat). Thus, many students and their families are still arriving at the venue. We need to wait for around half-an-hour for the ceremony to start. So, I get to chat with the person next to me, who is from another department and whom I never met. It turns out that she has Portuguese roots, and her family is the same area where I come from (Alentejo). What are the odds?

Today is a special graduation day, for me, because one of my PhD students is graduating: Abdelwahab Al-Atiqi.

Abdelwahab was the first PhD student that I admitted, at Brunel. He looked at the adoption and sustained use of Business Intelligence systems in organisations, and, alongside talking about literature, research methods, etc… we had some lovely chats about industry vs academia, and about life in general. He also shared this photo with me, from our first meeting:

1h00m: I remove my robes and pop to the library, to pick up some books that I had reserved. Plenty of reading to get through in the next month and half:

1h30m: I stop by Costcutter and buy lunch. Then, meet with one of my colleagues for coffee and a chat. Then, back to my office to finish emptying the shelves and clearing the drawers. I still have more than a month to go. But I know that there is a shortage of office space and, honestly, I don’t need my office, at this stage.

I send some messages to one of my former MBA students who is also graduating today, and had said that she wanted to have a photo with me. I would love that, too. This student was caught up in the middle of the Covid madness. She went through a really hard time, but she pulled through and ended up producing a top level dissertation. I am so proud of her. Anyway, she is not responding to my messages. So, I leave the office and head back home. Looks like there is a large fire somewhere nearby:

16h00m: Arrive home. Take the books to my home office, which is now very crowded. While I am emptying one of the bags, I decide to dispose of some of the books (some to give to a colleague, some to take to the charity shop, and some to recycle). Really, I should have done this a long time ago – at the very least, I should have done this before I carried all of them home, duh!

17h00m: Answer e-mails. Provide feedback on a dissertation draft. Then, look through the papers in my associate editor inbox, to choose potential reviewers.

19h00m: Head out for a walk, to wrap up the day. I think this heat calls for Sushi.

When I started working at Brunel, I picked up the habit of listening to podcasts while commuting. For the next job, I am thinking: “no biscuits in meetings”. Obviously, I can pick up new habits any time, but it’s fun to use fresh starts as triggers to pick up new habits. What great habit have you picked up, recently?

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