of cats and promises and colloquiums

Dear blog,

It’s been a while.

It’s also been a lesson in how a promise one makes to oneself can be broken as easily as forgetting to feed the cat. (Not that it’s been six months since I fed the cat, but she happens to provide a totally irrelevant but very fluffy example of something it’s sometimes all too easy to do.)

For example…
I will never forget about my blog completely while I get on with everything else!

I will never let more than six months go between blog posts, in the manner of so many others for whom I now have complete sympathy!

I will never provide lame excuses when, eventually, I remember that I have a blog and it’s been more than six months since I’ve posted!

Despite these failings you might still be pleased to know that in the interim I have successfully completed the colloquium process for my Phd.

For those unfamiliar with this, it is the first major stepping stone in the Phd process for students at my Australian university. Sometimes known as confirmation, it is a rigorous process used to determine a candidate’s suitability to undertake a phd candidature.

A candidate must show that he/she has developed (so far!) a ‘careful, rigorous and sustained piece of work’ and one with a well-thought out and ‘clearly articulated’ research question. The candidate must show a very thorough and critical understanding of what is already out there, sound methodological strategies and techniques, and their proposed work must make an original contribution to the field.


In my case, seeing as I’m doing a creative work and an exegesis (you try pronouncing it. Go on, I dare you), the two components must both do all of the above as well as be substantially connected.

This process must take place within the first year of candidature, and puts fear in the hearts of all those unwise enough to start a Phd.

In preparation I prepared a sixty page report including an abstract, in-depth literature review, methodology and excerpts from my proposed novel. I defended all of the above to a panel of six academics (both internal and external to my university) and took note of their many, many comments and answered their many, many questions.

But I did it! I managed to pass the process with no changes required, although with an awful lot of food for thought.

And at the expense of a lot of other things, like this blog.

But it’s done and I feel a clearing of the air around my head, thus enabling me to get back to the things I’ve ignored. I also feel the urge to write about the process again, to explore new ideas and ponder life as a long distance Phd student, which is where, dear blog, you come into play once more.

So thanks for waiting for me. I really appreciate it.


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