So this week has been one that I’ve been building up to for a long time – the annual progress review. Some people have described it as an ‘upgrade’ it’s basically the review meeting where your university decides that you can a) continue seemlessly into your second year, b) be fired, or c) somewhere in between.
Fortunately (??) I had booked a bit of holiday and two conferences just before it. This meant that I couldn’t overly focus on my own sense of impending doom because I needed to enjoy the holiday I had booked, attend a wedding with my partner and their family without convincing everyone in the surrounding area that I was about to be imminently fired, and network at conferences without coming across like an emotional wreck.
I channeled an old colleague and took a ‘fake it til you make it approach’ with the emotional stability, and actually had a lovely holiday and learned a lot at the conferences. When D(oom) Day came around I arrived in my review room with all my neatly written revision notes (I only know how to prepare for things like they’re an exam apparently), and it actually was far less painful than expected. The review was not without administrative glitch, but once we got to the academic part I could mostly answer the questions or else they were issues I was already considering and had a good reason for not yet having a conclusive answer (such as I haven’t read enough yet). There was one particular point which is really interesting and I’ll write about in another post because it’d be handy to get some minds together on it, but for now, the point is I passed!
Walking into my department on the day of my annual progress review I texted my partner with my sudden realisation that if things didn’t go well it could be the last time I walked into the department as a student. But it went as well as could be imagined for a pretty stressful life event, and I passed, and I am super grateful that my reviewers had some faith in me. Having the review behind me has been both settling and energising: I had felt somewhat like it was hanging over me, and getting it out of the way has meant that now I feel able to move forwards with my work and that I am trying to go back to doing some extra-curriculars – exercising, going for coffee with pals, ocassionally being still without the feeling that there is revision to be done and I am so excited for the next phase of my work.