Postgraduate Student Anna Kent – ‘A Different Way’

Postgraduate student Anna Kent shares a recent development in her PhD journey:

‘A different way…’

My PhD ‘journey’ has been winding, unconventional (perhaps), and full of missteps and potholes. I’ve juggled work, kids, family, life and all the many things that get in the way of PhDs. The twelve months since my colloquium has seen the death of both my beloved grandfathers, a broken arm, a 12 month contract working for the Australian government, my youngest child starting school, a new laptop, my sister finishing her PhD (which provides very useful inspiration!), not getting a scholarship to enable full time study…again, writing a chapter in a book, my first trip to the USA and many opportunities for feeling guilty for not doing enough study.

Bearing all this in mind, I saw the opportunity to start working with my supervisor, David Lowe, on his new project looking at the history of Australian aid as a welcome opportunity to reconnect with ‘research’ in my work, hoping it would help me refocus my brain to my own study as well.

So when I remarked, mostly jokingly, that I should put my hat in the ring for the PhD scholarship on the project, I was surprised that the possibility was there, and is now actually happening!

Does this sound too good to be true?  Well, yes of course it is.  I can’t continue on my project as it is, because the scholarship is tied to the broader History of Australian Aid project.  I have made the bittersweet decision to leave my PhD project on the Australia Indonesia relationship parked to the side (definitely not leaving it behind!). But as a historian, the opportunity to do a PhD as part of a team, on an ARC funded project, with a scholarship to boot, is not something I could say no to.

I am relishing the opportunity to think about new concepts, to get back to reading (without feeling like I should be finished reading!), and embracing a new topic.  I will take much with me from what I’ve done over the last two and a half years, colloquium is much less scary the second time around. My original project now just waiting for me to get back to it – but I look forward to getting this PhD Mark II on the go. And so my unconventional PhD continues…


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