• Meeting with Supervisor

    I met with my supervisor briefly this afternoon. Given that I’d just been gone for another 6-month period, his first serious question was whether I wished to continue with my Ph.D. or whether I needed an “easy way out.” I assured him that I still wanted to finish my Ph.D. and that I didn’t need an “easy way out.” That question once again settled, we then proceeded on to the practicalities of actually doing a Ph.D. With my recent long absence, he was all in favour of me applying to extend my last batch of intermission to cover the fall and spring terms. He suggested I write another letter to Phil Husbands, asking for intermission due to work.
    As always, the issue of my health and medication was included. I assured him that my health had been good of late. He thought I looked a lot healthier, too. My medication usage, I had to relate, was not completely perfect, but it was a lot better. I explained how I was trying to balance my life a lot better, taking weekends off and suchlike. I have been aided in this quest by a dynamic to-do-list manager called LifeBalance. I showed him my desired versus actual pie chart and today’s to do list and explained how it was time- and place-sensitive. By trying to do things only in the time slots allocated for them and relaxing outside of work/research hours, my health has improved and I’m not quite as stressed.

    Nevertheless, I still had to confess that I basically had not accomplished anything since our previous meeting on the 23rd of September and that our librarian was hounding me to submit my revised paper as I promised her I was going to publish it as a Computer Science Report last year. She now has a gap in her numbering and wants me to cough up the goods. My supervisor thought that would be a good place to start in getting my mind back into my research. Revision of that paper and publication of it is also what I have been waiting on before seeking assistance from an external advisor, so it all ties together nicely.
    He also thought I should make sure that I am represented in the upcoming annual HCT publication, with a picture and a description of my project. As that was already on my list of things to do, that is not a big deal. I believe I can even recycle previous material. I showed him my to-do list and my latest calendar for working on my Ph.D., which reminded him that I should unearth my research plan and update it for past progress and new timelines. I am not looking forward to that, but it is good to have a timeline. My new proposed timetable gives me between 5 to 7 research days at the University a month.
    I mentioned, almost in passing, that I will be winning a national award for excellence in teaching from the Open University. He was extremely pleased and suggested that I drop a note to the editors of the Bulletin, a weekly newsletter here at the University, as that’s the kind of tidbit they’d likely want to publish. That also led into a discussion of what I am doing at the Open University and my usage of FirstClass there. Our Lab is getting a FirstClass conferencing system for sharing resources and updating web pages. I wasn’t sure how well it would work for updating web pages automatically, as I have not seen FirstClass really used for that, beyond shared calendars, but I think it’s a neat experiment.
    Finally, I told him that I’d actually put together a research blog which was currently very short on content and unindexed by Google, but it was a good place to start my efforts in building myself a community. It’s another positive step forward.
    At the end of the meeting, we closed, as usual, by selecting a new meeting date. Next meeting is a half hour squeezed inbetween other appointments on Tuesday, the 16th of March, at 16:15.
    Task List:
    - Send another letter to postgraduate dean about extending intermission from October to end of February.
    - Send HCT Info to Rose’s secretary for inclusion in annual publication.
    - Resurrect and review timelines for my research plan.
    - Send note to A.F. of the bulletin about winning teaching award at the Open University.
    - Review the paper for submission to the library.
    - Send e-mail to F.S. saying I’m alive and include revised version of paper.
    - Review MATLAB application acquisition status.