Ok so this week I did the PhD Life Raft retreat with the amazing Dr Emma Brodzinksi. It was a bit of a last minute decision as I wasn’t quite sure I would be able to fit it in as I have had a busy week away at work this week ( at Digifest in Birmingham) but in the end I decided to go for it as Emma has designed it to do either synchronously or dip in and out as you are able to. I was therefore able to do some live sessions and catch up on ones that I missed and I am absolutely happy that I did this. I will definitely do this again next year if the opportunity arises.
It was a safe space to connect with others who are in various stages of their PhD Journey and really give the gift of time and space to yourself. This is something that I know I need to work on. It was run in slack and I have never seen it done this way in Slack, it was designed a bit like we do our Teams channels at work and I thought that on the whole it worked really very well indeed. I noticed that Emma used zoom to do the synchronous video bits and this is something that we are thinking of incorporating at work rather than using the inbuilt Teams video facility, so this was really helpful for me in a number of different ways.
My key takeaways really were the chance to connect with others that I hadn’t met before and the lightbulb moments that I experienced in terms of the role of archetypes that Emma introduced us to. It sparked off an image for me in my mind of a sort of nightclub where there was a queue of little Debbie’s all waiting to come in and jostling for position. The bouncer (aka my PhD problems) was holding back all the little Debbie’s until the Superhero Debbie fought her way to the front and got through the door. My Superhero Debbie is the one that has the magic fairy dust and bringer of unicorns and creativity… there are other archetypes that I now know that I need to unlock ( although this is one I have invented myself of course ! )
Emma also sent us all a little gift in the post before the retreat, consisting of a candle, some herbal teas and a motivational postcard – such a lovely touch and a great way to bring us all together.
I’m currently working my way through the sessions that I missed. Here is my response to the guided reflection on my PhD journey …