Driving home for Christmas…

Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

…and looking back on all the things that have happened over the past year.

I am checking the news and sh*t, there is still a snowstorm going on in Munich. The authorities are not sure if planes and buses can reach the city in the next few days. It’s the 8th of December but I want to go home early this year. To see my mum and friends. To relax. A whole month without anything but food and sleep. Yes,  I need holidays. Badly. But there are still so many things happening, so many responsibilities to fulfill. I really want to finish this last draft of my first paper! I have been writing  this thing for a year  and a half now . It needs to be finished soon, right? We also need to plan a teachers’ meeting. I am trying to collaborate with colleagues to supervise multiple Bachelor theses  on  topics of Gender, representation and equality in Media and Cinema or in the Gaming industry. Sounds cool, I know. But I have no idea how we should be organizing this before the holidays and if the students will be even interested in that. I also cannot forget to text a colleague from the G-Versity network for… No! I am stopping myself here.

Breathe, take a break and get some food. I promised that to my supervisor. To take enough breaks and to not get lost in my head about all the things that were NOT done yet. My mental health was not exactly great in the past year – so  I have been trying  to find a therapy place lately. It’s a nightmare. 

In regards of not thinking about all the things that have not been done yet, my supervisor asked me the other day to write down all the things that I did over the past one and a half years:

So first, I finished the data analysis  on networking within a male-dominated network, my first paper that I. AM. STILL. NOT. ABLE. TO. FINISH. And yes, I am slightly frustrated about that. I got to travel to Sweden to present the first preliminary findings to the network that I collected the data in. Which was a very special experience. Rewarding but also a bit frightening to talk about how they reproduce gender inequality within their own ranks. 

I finished the data collection for my second study within a diversity network including participant observations and giving presentations at two of their General Assembly meetings in Sweden and Italy. This network is so interesting and I was thankful to also do my non-academic secondment with them. I am already thinking of how to write this second paper. But I need to finish the firs- …No! Not going down this anxious-thought-road now. Focus.

A really nice experience was to join the workshop on “Doing feminist, gender and diversity research in and around organizations” at Aalto University Helsinki together with my fellow colleague Rasika. We talked about feminism in our individual research, the struggles (and there are a lot), but also rewarding and connecting experiences we share. It was really good to meet people with similar pathways and interests.

What else was there? Ah, I finished and got accepted with a conference paper for the EGOS Conference 2023 in Cagliari in Italy, where I participated with a presentation. Not the best experience. My cat at home died while I was there. So there was a lot of crying in airports. But at least I got to deepen the connections I made in Helsinki. And there was Pasta. A lot of Pasta. That was good.

There was also teaching, and representative work in the network, and I think this was it – no?

No! I forgot about our G-Versity meetings in Nijmegen and Prague. Those were actually really good. To see everyone again and learn about the fellow researchers’ processes and progresses (All of them work on really cool stuff. They research masculinities, parenthood, queer leadership, sexual harassment or post colonialism. Just to name a few. You should really check their work out). We had different workshops on writing and planning our professional future after the PhD. Spoke with people who stayed in academia after their PhD, but also with people who decided to leave academia. We spoke about things to consider, their personal experiences and reasons for decisions.

After giving my list to my supervisor she asked me how I feel about all the work that I have done so far. If I am able to recognize the immense amount of stuff I did? If I can give myself some credit even if THE. STUPID. FIRST. PAPER. IS. NOT. DONE. YET. Honest answer? I don’t know. My cat is still dead and the paper is not finished. I am also single again, having health issues and yes, I am quite often asking myself what I am doing with my life. But I still like research. And I still love to work on Gender. And Social justice. And yes, in a bigger picture I feel like my work is part of making the world a better place. Or at least pushing some people to think, no, to reflect even. So that’s good, right? I think so.

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