Week 40: I Passed My Probation

This week, I passed my probation review! I am now feeling a bit more relaxed. It was so nice that my supervisor announced that I had passed, and my colleagues congratulated me!

The review meeting was more like a discussion from various perspectives, including the views of the external examiner. I mainly discussed my research with the panel, and he asked a few general questions (they were similar to some that were on my list of possible questions) and many specific questions which I had not thought about.

Overall, all the topics in the discussion we had were very helpful, and it was not a problem that I was not able to answer straight away some technical questions which I had not looked at. The panel gave me many suggestions on references and other important aspects of data analysis.

I really thank my partner Luca, because for the last EIGHT days we rehearsed for this meeting, and I was able to be confident on the day!

Now, my advice to any PhD student facing a first-year probation review is very simple.

  1. Print all your probation documents and read them very carefully, until you know them very well. My eight-month work became a 100-page paper, including a full version of ethics applications. Having the result of your work on paper will definitely give you confidence!
  2. Make sure that you can explain the methodological frameworks you use.
  3. Bring water, pens and a notepad, and during the meeting be ready to receive any feedback from the examiner.

I went to a sushi restaurant to celebrate my completion of the probation period and started thinking about my next tasks: fixing and reinforcing the points that the panel emphasised, writing Chapter 2, and completing some training sessions on methodologies. I have also started taking an Italian language course, as a pastime. And my birthday is coming in a week!

My goals for Week 41:

  • Map out the prospective participants and the amount of data
  • Expand the outline description of Chapter 2
  • Enjoy my birthday!

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I have just realised that I have published 150 posts on this blog. Having a three-year record of life or studies can be something that makes you energetic, as I’m sure you can well understand yourself. As readers may easily realise, English is not my native language. I started posting my records of local life and studies on my blog in English when I moved to Europe three years ago. Expressing my feelings in my second language is sometimes difficult because of a lack of knowledge of the multiple connotations behind the vocabulary. My writing identity would be closer to my first language. But I really enjoy learning and absorbing all aspects of the life here, and the use of language as well.

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