I am now about a month into my PhD and so far it’s all going well. I’ve settled in quite quickly and it feels completely normal to be back at a computer reading articles and books about human dental development. The one thing I’m still getting used to is the routine and juggling my hockey, travel and the PhD, but I’m sure that will come soon enough. Since starting the PhD I have met many new and lovely people. At the university of Southampton there is quite a big group of PhD students, who are all at various points of their PhD, and a group of osteology girls. Everyone is so friendly that I never felt isolated or unwelcome, which is always nice!
Last week I went down to Portsmouth to meet my second supervisor, Simon Mays, who works for Historic England. It was really good meeting Simon properly as the only previous time I had met him was at my interview for the position! I also got to visit his place of work and where I will be collecting some of my data; Fort Cumberland. It is quite an odd place and it felt very strange driving up to a gate, where I was buzzed in, and then down a long drive into the middle of an old military fort. It was an incredible place and to be honest it’s very difficult to describe so I’ve added a aerial photo of the fort to give some idea of what it’s like.
During my visit I had a meeting with my two supervisors Dr Sonia Zakrzewski and Dr Simon Mays, which went really well. I was given some advice and guidance and so I now have a really good focus of what I need to do over the next couple of months – basically a lot of reading in order to create a methodology for age estimation that can be tested on skeletal specimens after Christmas! I was then taken for a tour of the fort which included the storage room that houses some of the collections that I will be using for my studies and the X-ray room. Hopefully I will be receiving training in this so I can take my own radiographs!
This week I also attended an induction day for AHRC CDP, which stands for Arts & Humanities Research Council Collaborative Doctoral Partnership. This might sound quite complicated but basically I have been granted a PhD through the CDP, which in turn is funded by the AHRC. For a bit more information please visit my about me page. This induction day was actually really useful, unlike other induction days that I have heard about, and I was able to understand a lot more about the CDP and what it meant for me. I now realise what an incredible opportunity I have with this PhD. Not only will I be able to carry out a project in a subject that I really enjoy and find interesting, but I will hopefully have quite a few amazing opportunities that will be open to me.
I am very much looking forward to the next few years that are ahead of me. I know that it’s going to be hard work and very stressful at times, but I know it will be worth it. After all I am being paid to carry out some work in a subject that I love and I will be working with some incredible people! Now after a long day reading quite a few articles about tooth development and various methods I’m off to the pub for a well deserved pint and socializing!