Meetings, meetings, meetings.

Yesterday was a good day. When I tell you about it you’ll be confused, you’ll probably think it was a very dull day, filled with meetings, but they were productive meetings.

I started the morning with a Brilliant Club tutorial. It didn’t go entirely to plan with late kids and computer issues, but we got through all the essential work so I call it an overall win. I was wrapped up at my school by 1pm and caught the train back to Leicester.

Arriving about 2pm I had enough time for some lunch and admin before the first of many meetings at 3pm. Meeting number one was with one of our bioinformatians in the department. I couldn’t think of a creative way so do what I wanted to do, so I hoped with all his bioinformatics know how he’d be able to magic up a much better idea than mine. After a little playing around we basically came to the conclusion that the way I’d thought to do it was basic but would probably do the job. In short: keep doing what I’m doing.

Meeting number 2 was straight after meeting number 1. I sat down with the boss and one of our post-docs to do some more work on the review paper we’re currently writing. We went through work already done, and what we need to get done next. We split the work load and decided it’s time to stop reading/figure making and time to start writing. I’m relieved, my brain needs a break from reading.

Meeting number 3 was just me and the boss, thesis meeting time. I can feel your negativity already. We sat for an hour and went through his comments on my first two chapter drafts. I’ve done quite a lot of restructuring work since we spoke last week, and it went down well. Last week we spoke about making my thesis easy to read. Before I started restructuring the information was there but the message wasn’t as clear as it could be. I agree with him that examiners appreciate a clear message. Reading a thesis is always a big undertaking and the easier you can make for your examiners the better. The boss is currently reading a thesis to examine so I think this is at the front of his mind right now.

We sat for an hour and I answered some of his questions (mostly things he couldn’t remember), we spoke about some extra things to add, and I showed him my method for restructuring, which goes as follows:

Overall chapter introduction
Chapter aim…
Topic 1:
½ page intro to topic 1
I did this work because…
The hypothesis of this work was…
Small discussion…
Repeat until all chapter topics covered.

These prompts are obviously just for me, I don’t have paragraphs in my thesis starting with “I did this work because…”, but they’re useful to make me think about how someone else reads what I write.

Overall we had a very productive meeting and I have a good list of jobs to be getting on with. I left work at 6pm feeling on top of things, normally I come out of meetings overwhelmed with extra work, but yesterday’s that didn’t happen. I came out feeling like the work I’ve produced so far is good and now I know how to (hopefully) make it great.

P.S. It was really lovely to write a good old fashioned DailyPhD style post again.


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