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Becoming a student….again


So it’s been a bit quiet from @ECRhealth …….you might be wondering why….?

Well…2015 saw us both take a leap of faith and start something new… we both became students …again! And I know what you’re all thinking… you’re all looking at this blog in disbelief yelling at the screen…. don’t you already have a PhD?! And then… what else is there to do, PhDs aren’t they as high as you can go? #wtf

Firstly if you are currently an ECR don’t freak out – a PhD is enough, in fact it’s plenty-good! Unless your #multipotentialite self desires more

Some of us continue life long learning, crafting a niche, following your inclinations… and signing up for Master’s degrees.

Whilst this sounds positively blissful, trying something new can be, and is, daunting.

hoop jump

So here are some reflections on our experience and some tips for anyone considering some more study.

  • when you’ve been a teacher/tutor/lecturer going back to study can help you re-visit & develop humility towards your students
  • when you change things up there is a whole lot to learn about maintaining work/life/study balance (cos  it is no longer possible to pull all-nighters or infuse coffee through an IV to keep you going while you finish that assignment #lastminute.com). Find what fills your cup!
  • think about self-expectations and perfectionistic tendencies – Lynsey’s best piece of advice from her 2015 mentor was to consider everything you’ve got on your plate and acknowledge that Ps get degrees (meanwhile Lynsey’s averaging a HD but losing the work/life balancing act whilst Jodie failed a task and had to resubmit and the world didn’t come to an end)!
  • enjoy the feeling of your worlds colliding as you combine knowledge and experiences from past and present work and study (who knew there would be so much psychology in a public health degree?)
  • just jump through the hoops #JJTTH
  • realise that it is easier when you go back to study to focus on content, as the ability to write, format and reference comes more naturally (particularly since that’s what we’ve been doing for the past 5 years!)

And remember ……….it’s an amazing race….. enjoy the process!

Life inspiration

Images sourced from:





Grey-fitti 2016

We have long been fans of the office whiteboard – a space for sharing inspirational quotes, new words that we’ve never heard of, key concepts that we hope if we stare at long enough we’ll start to understand (here’s looking at you neoliberalism!), and ideas that could change the world (or our worlds anyway). However, given that we won’t be sharing an office this year 😦 we are expanding our horizons and going technological – cue the 2016 virtual whiteboard! We have decided to make our blog the location for our shared whiteboard and would love for you to contribute. Please come back during the year and watch this space become covered in grey-fitti!




2016 whiteboard additions

Life long learners and leaders

who dares wins

choose happy



be comfortable with uncertainty

build humility

awesome sauce (it is a thing)





cultivate the power of joy

wake up and be awesome




cultivate the ground you are standing on

zucchini tadpoles with legs





done is better than perfect














free text disaster zone



filling my cup



bigger, stronger, wiser


sylvatic enzootic microbes


untracking the changes



inter alia

healthcare=the system, health care=the act of providing care

teamwork makes the dreamwork

pedagogy = child learning; andragogy = adult learning







Swallow the frog

Am I the teaching learner or the learning teacher?

Times of change are full of opportunities

Verstehen – understanding at a deep level

etic (out), emic (me)




‘You must first seek to understand before you are understood’



SharePoint, PowToon




And here are some oldies but goodies….

No guts no glory
Nobody is as smart as everybody
Become the biggest version of ourselves
It might just be ok— this year—-it’s OK!
Earning or learning
Be brave and press send
Just start
Chip away



2015 The year that was

What we achieved

In 2015 our Health Research Journey goals were to:

• Take our lessons from 2014’s grant and mould this proposal into brilliance worthy of category 1 funding
Done! (still haven’t heard how we went though, apparently ‘announcement in October’ is code for ‘we’ll let you know sometime in January…’)

• Have four papers accepted for publication
Done! With a few more currently under review 🙂

• Create an ECR network mailing list
Change of plan (oops!) – we focused on social media instead 😮

• Attend an international conference
Done! (It was in Melbourne, last week we squeezed it in, but it was still an international conference) 🙂

• Invite guest bloggers to post on their experiences of the journey
Invited – yes, received – not yet

• Get better at saying No – being strategic
Work in progress (https://thehealthresearchjourney.wordpress.com/2015/10/30/just-say-no/) but we are much improved

• Reward big but also small steps towards goals
Sort of done, though our rewards chart (https://thehealthresearchjourney.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/research-rewards-and-relapse-prevention/) slipped off the radar as we got busier

• Fail fast – it’s difficult to receive criticism and review of our work BUT if we are able to consider, take on and produce something better as a result then we can reap the rewards
Another work in progress, we are constantly developing ways how to do this but have certainly learnt a lot this year

• Attend a minimum of three lunchtime pilates/yoga classes per week
Not done. We moved offices this year which made it harder for this to be possible – we are sorry we didn’t achieve this one 😦

• Leave work at work
Sort of done. We might not have taken documents home but we took emotions home this year (Note to self: heart on sleeve not on research project). However, we have had lots of chats about work/life balance and what’s important and have tried hard to focus on these things instead

• Leave work before 6pm
Mostly done! 🙂

• Make a social life out of academia (can it be done?!)
We had some great times at conference dinners and some awesome officemate excursions and we have grown our network of people we enjoy working and hanging out with! And identified those we don’t :-/

• Be mindful of what tasks we do have control over and be careful not to overload, where possible do one task at a time and appreciate the process
Fail! But we’ve discovered we are multipotentialites (http://www.ted.com/talks/emilie_wapnick_why_some_of_us_don_t_have_one_true_calling) so doing one task at a time is just…well…boring! We will continue to practice mindfulness where possible though.


What comes next

Well, what comes next looks a whole lot different than we might have thought a few months ago. 2016 will see our partnership change – we will no longer be officemates but instead be cross-sectoral collaborators. Jodie is following her dream and going back to uni to study to be a clinical health psychologist #biggestversionsofourselves. Lynsey’s current role has been extended for six months but when that door closes she is not sure what the next door will open into #hellouniversewhatdoyouhaveinstore. We are sad that this chapter is ending but are excited about the possibilities that next year holds! Times of change are full of opportunities #someonewisetoldus



Christmas traditions

This year we had a two-part grey-fitti as we moved offices in May: two offices, two whiteboards. This has led to a Christmas wordle spectacular… thanks Tagxedo!

Creating Christmas Resear-Cheer

In our highly efficient office of strategic whiteboards and colour coordinated task lists we have an empty corner for grey-fitti.
This is a blank portion of our whiteboard where we record random musings and inspired ideas as well as disgruntled moments experienced throughout the year.

In a longstanding tradition (which began in 2013), once a year, at Christmas time, Jodie collates said grey-fitti and turns it into a commemorative wordle using freely available online software (http://www.tagxedo.com/). This is a way to reflect our wisdom from throughout the year.

This year, we thought we’d share this brilliance with you. And this time next year we’d love to see yours!

We look forward to sharing our goals and research pursuits in the New Year.
Merry Christmas!

Wordle High Res