Being on maternity leave with my son has been one of the toughest and most amazing years of my life. This little rainbow baby helps me learn new things every day, gaining a much deeper understanding of who I am, too. It is also incredible to watch him grow into a chubby, inquisitive, constantly moving, bilingual, friendly and kind human.
I have lost a very good friend to suicide.
This happened whilst I was working on my post-doc research, and of course had substantive impact on my work. But I could also share some of these experiences with one of the students, in what amounted to one of the most rewarding interview discussions.
A colleague at Nottingham, Charlie Davis asked Holly Henderson and myself from the School of Education to discuss what widening participation was, its relevance to new academics, and our research interests. In preparation for the podcast I made a few notes - here they are!
What’s next for an internationally comparative research project?
March saw all my research plans thrown into chaos: the national lockdowns meant my planned face-to-face fieldwork became impossible, whilst the ensuing health, social, and economic crises made me question the broader aims of my work.
I am fascinated by the diverse and complex transitions students experience whilst at university, and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the multitude of emotions a generation of students participating in our research experienced. Their transformation into a student, and subsequently, a graduate of the University of Sheffield are mirrored in the changes I encountered. Becoming the post-doctoral researcher on the ‘Sheffield Student 2013’ longitudinal tracking project within the Widening Participation Research and Evaluation Unit has been transformational to me: I found my passion for exploring higher education, had a chance to pursue research into social justice issues with strong policy implications, and gained incredible colleagues and friends throughout this time.
"I'm sorry if I'm actually wasting your time just waffling on. (...) Because I know this is research and you’ll be like looking through it and it’ll just be me talking about my life because I can’t be arsed to go see the counsellor."
This talk by Vikki Boliver is an awesome summary of the issues students from non-traditional // lower socio-economic backgrounds face in getting into, through and out of university. Very much worth a look! The video was recorded at the 'Sheffield Student 2013' project final event.