Monday, 19 November 2012

Watch out - new blogger alert!

My first ever blog - well that's a lie... I did start up a research project blog a few years back which was great fun.  But this is my first ever personal blog.  It's a bit scary!

Why now? Well it's all down to a chain of events starting with a course on applying for funding which included a very inspiring talk from Ceri Lewis (@CezzaLew) who in part was extolling the joys of twitter. Where have I been?  I have definitely been 'all at sea' without twitter - it's like a little beacon of light in the darkness.  Now I can keep up to date with what is going on in science as it happens.  I have gone from being blind to twitter to being a twitter addict (helped by my newly acquired smartphone).

Twitter introduced me to a whole new world - the online world of women in science.  I am no feminist (as a friend pointed out if I'm fighting for female rights I'm a feminist) - I have never had any problems as a woman in science despite originally working in a very male dominated world of engineering (I was one of 10 girls out of 120 on my degree)*.  However, since I have had children, the difficulties of trying to keep my newly formed academic career in marine biology alive while balancing part time working and the demands of parenthood makes life very different. I really am struggling to keep an academic career on track only working 3 days a week while struggling to put in the extra hours needed. Three and one year olds are very demanding (as are academic careers)! Since I came back to work after my second daughter was born, I have definitely felt all at sea in my academic career with a severe loss of self confidence. Finding twitter and all these other women in science blogging and tweeting has made a huge difference to my self confidence.  I have been inspired by many of the talks in the SpotOn series of talks (see the Women in Science: Improving the visibility of women in science both online and offline session), and by women scientist bloggers and tweeters like Athene Donald (see her blog post 'To blog or not to blog'). I no longer feel all at sea, but part of a big community of women scientists :) Thank you!

So I decided to take the plunge and start to blog. I'm not sure how the blog will evolve, or how often I will post.  But hopefully it will resonate with others out there - male or female that are struggling to keep on the academic rollercoaster while experiencing the other rollercoaster that is parenthood.  And please pass on any tips for doing this amazing juggling act, because I could do with all the tips available - I'm not sure I'm managing it very well!

Watch this space... ;)
(and follow me on Twitter @ClareEmbling)

ps. also planning to use the blog to share fascinating science :) So watch this space even if you're not a struggling scientist & parent...

* Eleven years as an electrical and electronic engineer (degree & working in industry) and now ten years as a marine biologist (MRes, PhD & on post-doc number 2)...

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