I looked back through some of my earlier blog posts last week and it was clear to see that I have been writing less frequently this past year. That said, I have to remind myself that earlier in my EngD I was actually travelling to places and meeting with different groups of people that provided interesting variation to write about.
Although I have been keeping busy throughout the various lockdowns, working from home has not always given me the most exciting things to share. I have also been involved in activities that are not connected to my research project and I didn't feel that it would be the right content for this blog.
As well as being a time for reflection, January is also a good time to look ahead and give some forethought to how the coming year might shape up. In this blog post, I mull over how I am expecting 2021 to pan out for me.
One of the most exciting events of my year is definitely going to be presenting my first first-author paper at CHI in May. I enjoyed making the changes to our provisionally accepted paper earlier this month, which has now been fully accepted.
Although I won't be travelling to Japan, which is where the conference was due to take place, I was lucky enough to attend CHI in 2019. This year's virtual conference is going to be a very different experience, but I am looking forward to showing some of my work to a larger audience and getting involved in the other activities associated with attending CHI.
The first half of the year will see some important milestones before that, though. There is another paper deadline coming up, so I will be making changes ready to submit a second paper that wasn't accepted at CHI. I was also encouraged to re-open my online survey to get some more participants and improve the validity of our results for that study (details available on Twitter). Importantly, I will also finish putting together the resources for my online interviews before starting recruitment for this final, vital study in my project.
Throughout the year, there will be a number of events and talks which the Centre for Digital Entertainment continues to organise for EngD students. There appears to be a focus this year on identifying core skills and career development opportunities to help with thinking about 'what comes after your EngD'. It will be a useful exercise to consider what might be different than expected when we started our projects, given that the job market has been disrupted significantly by COVID. This will be helpful for all EngD students, but it is particularly timely for myself and others in my cohort as we come to the end of our doctorates.
Writing My Thesis
Of course, before I do move on, I need to write my thesis. I don't want to underestimate how big of an undertaking this will be, so, as promised, I will start to draft it soon, but it will become my main focus in the second half of the academic year after I have drawn together the data from all studies in my project.
As soon as I am able, I will share news of what I plan to do after I submit. In the meantime, I will continue to work away at my various to-do lists. (I can cross off 'publish blog post', at least!)