As part of our 5-year anniversary celebration, we are taking a look back at some of our favourite posts! With over 400 posts in our library, it is almost impossible to choose our favourites. But our past and present committee members have attempted to choose – below are the explanations why and links to their faves*.
*It really is impossible to choose favourites. For every one here, there are easily another 10 that we haven’t mentioned yet*
This guide to writing an academic book review was something I found really helpful as a new PhD student. There are so many unwritten rules in academia, and there is often an expectation that PhD students ‘just know’ how to do things like writing conference abstracts and book reviews. Pubs and Pubs definitely helps to fill that knowledge gap, and Catherine’s post is a nice example of how the blog allows older PhD students to share their newfound knowledge with their more junior
Picking a favourite post that I’ve read from Pubs and Pubs is obviously difficult, but the blogs I always thought were the best were those that acknowledged how difficult it is to succeed in academia whilst always giving practical advice and support. We all know where to go if we want to read the despair pieces, but it’s more difficult to find something that can help you navigate the challenges and negativity.
For that reason, a post that stands out for me is Lloyd (Meadhbh) Houston’s ‘The Loves that Dare to Speak Their Name’. It was one we approached Lloyd to write after the Vice-Chancellor at Oxford made some ill-informed comments about experiences of homophobia, and whilst the post addressed the nature of those comments head on, Lloyd told a story of a welcoming, supportive community with examples and guidance for how to embrace those possibilities. Anyone reading that post, who knew that many established academics were not committed to creating a welcoming atmosphere for them, would, I hope, leave reassured about the world they were entering. Out of a subject that might have made prospective LGBTQ+ postgraduates feel rejected and unwelcome, Pubs and Pubs provided a platform for a message of support and welcome. I think that’s something to which it is well worth contributing.
As a reader, I found the posts giving advice about upcoming years most helpful – particularly posts about surviving the first year: https://www.blogs.hss.ed.ac.u
My favourite Pubs and Pubs posts to read are without a doubt the posts asking What *blank* your PhD is. As someone obsessed with teenage magazines at school and Buzzfeed quizzes at undergrad, these provide welcome procrastination – and often offer genuine insight into how I work! Whether it’s what my choice of caffeine is (French press obviously) https://www.blogs.hss.ed.ac.uk/pubs-and-publications/2015/09/21/your-choice-of-caffeine-and-what-it-says-about-you/; ; or what kind of holiday my PhD is https://www.blogs.hss.ed.ac.uk/pubs-and-publications/2018/10/01/what-kind-of-holiday-is-your-phd/ (road trip with ambitions of sightseeing).
These posts have provided hours of entertainment/procrastination for me, reminding me that there is fun to be had in discussing the insanity that can be a PhD.
In this post, Giulia (the author’s) and my experiences as an international researcher are different yet so similar! I was able to relate to the excitement, the anxiety and the imposter syndrome of not being good enough to study in another country. I could also relate to how she fell in love with Edinburgh (for me it is Newcastle of course!). The post made me feel less like I was by myself going through the upheavals of an international student which is why this is my favourite post.
This is my favourite post because it was the first one I ever wrote for Pubs and Publications. It is also my favourite because I got to write about a topical issue I am passionate about – Confederate monuments and what to do with them. Not for marks, not for my PhD dissertation, I wrote it because I wanted to and I had the chance to. I love this post because it is what Pubs and Pubs is all about for me, providing PhD students with the opportunity to write and contribute to important conversations without pressure or strict academic convention.