Retrospective: Confirmation of Registration

It’s over two months since I last wrote here. It’s over half way through the semester. I have just submitted the third draft of my memes chapter, and the ethics for my second study. I had my annual progression meeting a couple of weeks ago (all went well, phew!) and I was out on the picket lines for Halloween’s strike action… Perhaps these things are related somehow? TL:DR – I’ve been super busy, and there’s no sign of this letting up any time soon (hello, extra marking! how I have missed you…) Ugh. I’ll try harder. I promise.

In the interest of continuity in these retrospective posts, I’d like to take you back in time by about a year, to talk about my Confirmation of Registration. The COR is kind of the first official step on the PhD journey I guess, and I had mine in December 2012. After enrolling in October and being thrown in the deep end with teaching, I spent about two months doing a lot of reading and reworking of my initial application proposal. This involved a fair bit of back and forth with my supervisors, making sure we had tightened up some bits of the proposal and anticipated any questions linked with the methods and rationale – especially around linking the two studies (memes and the experiences of women in IT).

On the day of the COR day itself I attended a panel interview kind of meeting, with my supervisors, an independent person from the research office, and an expert in my proposed research area. They had all read my newly redrafted proposal, and prepared questions for me around both studies.

The meeting went well – no revisions were requested (something you can be asked to do, before being confirmed), I just came away with a bunch of useful feedback. I also gained my third supervisor, in the form of the expert panel member. Beyond this, I don’t really remember much about it… I’ve slept since then.

What did I learn from this experience?

Actually reworking the document for submission was really helpful, as it gave me a chance to refine my ideas and build on them theoretically (something I think my initial proposal was lacking in, with the benefit of hindsight). I still go back to that document now if I’m having the crippling moments of self-doubt and errrm, what is the link between my studies? Is there even a link? Discussing the proposal with someone outside my supervision team (and outside the subject area) meant that I had to be able to explain my ideas clearly.

I think it was helpful to view the COR as a kind of second interview, minus the presentation aspect of the first. It definitely felt like a two-way process, with me being able to clarify certain points and use the advice from the panel in developing my research later on.

Key points to remember? It wasn’t scary or nerve-wracking, nobody was there to trip me up, and having my supervisors present was a really supportive process. View it as a way to refine your ideas and go in open to constructive criticism and suggestions. Good times.

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