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Highways and byways: pathways onwards, upwards and sideways.


Team Ross had the best day out today in Barf. We went swimming- Mr Dr Ross has been taking the Small Human swimming over the last few weeks and he has done so well. I’m not great at it and I’m a bit scared of water but swimming is a proper life skill, so it’s important that the Little Dude gets it. 

And today he did! It was fab!

We went into town after that and had a butty- best shop in Barf for a butty is La Baguette – and sat by the Abbey. It is so pretty and the pigeons kept Little D happy and running. Cookies and cake flowed and we had a proper lovely, sunny arvo.

On the way back from Barf, when we were getting the car, we bumped into a guy who did his PhD alongside me. He is brilliant- an amazing scholar, proper brain and has such vision and insight. He is also one of the most lovely, amiable blokes I’ve spend time with. He was always so gracious in classes etc, particularly when I asked bonkers questions or had daft moments (and there were many). He is doing amazingly and is working at a properly prestigious uni and fully owning his amazing pathway forwards in academia. I’m so pleased for him, because he really is brilliant!

But then came the question of what I do…

Always a bit of a tricky one to answer, ever since I left school because I’ve generally taken some bonkers, funny old pathways to get from A to B. And the answer here wasn’t any different.

I never went into my PhD to be an academic in the traditional sense. I didn’t want to be in a uni, lecturing and doing that pathway. It’s one that would probably wouldn’t do me any good just because of the pressure and underlying anxiety stuff that I have in my journey. I did a PhD so that I could learn sociology, education and research stuff, then shout, rattle cages and fight to get voices heard around SEN, whilst hopefully being able to earn pennies along the way so that we have a house etc! I do seem to be managing it quite nicely, and mostly having fun. But it’s so hard to put into a short sentence.

People so often pull a face too, when you can’t say what you do or your sentence is longer than they expect. Today’s face was an interested face and a gracious, kind one. But so often it’s one of pity, like you’ve failed at something for not doing the ‘expected’ thing. It doesn’t matter what age or stage folk are at. Some people just don’t get that others may not necessarily want to do the ‘normal’ thing. They may have a different take on life, a particular aim with what they’re doing or simply enjoy saying yes to things that they want to do and no to those that they don’t

Whatever someone’s reasons for pursuing different pathways, not taking the ‘usual’ way can be completely fantastic and not the sad thing, or failure others may take it for. Pathways can more in any direction and it’s so important to keep that in mind! I certainly do, and subsequent, so does poor Mr Dr Ross, ever patiently!

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