December 2014 marks a bit of a turning point if I am honest. This time last year I was mourning my mother (still am really), I was about three months from completing my doctoral thesis and 2014 itself was yawning before me like some 22 month year in anticipation of ‘the oceans of time I would have’ post-PhD. Only two of these turned out to the way I had thought. This year turned out to be a long struggle with both NUIM (now Maynooth University) and the Office of the Ombudsman.

In an earlier post I outlined very briefly how the Registrar’s Office insisted on a fifth year of fees despite completing the thesis to academic satisfaction in four. This struggle was not helped by an intransigent postholder keen to imprint a particular style of management. There was an insistence on rules which were for their own sake, not reflected in common practice. I asked the Office of the Ombudsman to examine my case, in advance of shelling out €3,400 for nothing. It took so long for that office to examine and rule on my case that by September, I felt no choice but to pony up anyway. I wanted my doctoral thesis examined this side of Christmas. I may well reflect on the viva process in a future post but the pre-viva experience has been alienating to say the least. I will not say too much about my interaction with the Office of the Ombudsman until my appeal of their decision has been brought to a conclusion.

In the meantime, things that are more positive from an academic point of view: I successfully defended my thesis (with Prof. Avril Maddrell as external examiner) and I managed to write a couple of thousand words for various upcoming projects. The most exciting of these is making a small contribution to an exhibition of photography to be held at Darc Space, Dublin 1 next month. I’ll be blogging about that once it opens. I’ve also managed to contribute a book chapter to a volume on the bible in Ireland which might be published in 2015. However, and this is where the clouds are a little darker, I need to adjust my writing style for articles. Someone close to me says that I write blog posts well but when it comes to journal articles, I lose coherence and not a little clarity. It is as if  I feel the need to write like ‘an academic’, a style that was cultivated while an MA student in the 1990s. I continue to receive great support from friends and others in my pursuit of a new career. For now, here’s another plug for the RSP interview I did earlier this year which I enjoyed doing very much. Chris Cotter and the wider team have done some excellent work. Here’s hoping that NSRN Online benefits from Chris’s energy and enthusiasm.

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2 thoughts on “2014….phew

  1. Thanks very much for the shoutout, sir! Glad to hear that some things are going your way, and I really admire your willingness to call out the system on a lot of its stupidity. if only we all were so willing. I’m really glad that we’ve been able to sustain this online interaction for however many years… one of the real pleasures of 21st century academia!

  2. There’s me looking for the Thumbs Up button for your comment. Too much time on facebook!

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