Year 2 of Ph.D. complete!

At least this’s true as it concerns the two terms of teaching, which just finished as of yesterday here at Trinity College Dublin.

It’s safe to say that it has been a successful academic year for me.  I have accomplished things I never imagined I would carry out.  I have grown not only as a student and teacher but also as a young man.  I transcended trials, tribulations, and drama from all walks of life.  I handled the adversity with grace.  This gives me great confidence.  No doubt.

Nonetheless, here’s a recap of my academic year…

In September, I passed my Ph.D. confirmation, or ‘upgrade’, which officially made me a candidate and allowed me to enter the field with the permission of the Head of the School of Social Science and Philosophy and the Head of the Department of Sociology.

Between October and December, my abstract was submitted and then accepted into many sociological conferences around the world, from Bangor, Wales to Athens, Greece, amongst others.  I’m heading to Athens in early May to give a short presentation on the experiences and attitudes of young Pakistani men in Dublin and Boston.  I’m looking forward to also spending some time away from the conference.  You can find me chilling somewhere in the sunny Greek isles come early May!

Beginning in January, I started reaching out to my gatekeepers and contacts to start my fieldwork process.  I have been immersed in the field for a few months now and it’s going great.  I spend about three or four days a week at a local mosque speaking with young Pakistani men (and other Muslims).  The community has treated me as one of their own.  I’ve also become close friends with an Imam, whose friendship I value immensely even outside of my researcher role.  The next challenge is to reach out to other communities/mosques in the coming weeks.

In February, I was hired by the President of the Graduate Students Union to serve as the Editor for the peer-reviewed TCD Journal of Postgraduate Research.  The Journal is an on-going project which is set to launch in the TCD Long Room hub in late May.  As Editor, I reached out to Senator David Norris and he accepted my invitation to be our key-note speaker at the launch.  I also got Dochas on board as a key sponsor and contributor.

I’m looking forward to speaking at the event and launching the Journal.  I’m also excited to meet with influential figures from the Trinity College community.  I plan on bringing my video camera to film the entire thing.

Just recently, I was nominated for the TCD Alumni Teaching Excellence Award for the School of Social Science and Philosophy.  This award is given to a Teaching Assistant who has demonstrated excellent teaching skills for the 2011/2012 academic year.  I hope I get it.  It would serve as my first award as an aspiring teacher.

Hopefully Year 3 treats me as well as Year 2.  I will do my best to ensure it does.

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