I started the daily blog five years ago today by publishing No Accident.
It was a short post to start an ongoing daily blog! I wanted to begin by exploring what gets a postgraduate researcher from the start to the end of their PhD. In the last line I clumsily expressed a simple truth about nerves and the viva:
It’s understandable if you are nervous, but it’s no accident that you’ve got this far. Keep going.
I meant that it wasn’t only luck. The outcome of a viva and a PhD doesn’t depend on an accident of any kind. A person can have good fortune but only when they do the work and that works out for them.
I’m sure many postgraduate researchers, even given the last two years or so, feel fortunate at times. They do an uncertain experiment that works out. A resource arrives when it is most needed. An opportunity you just seem to thankfully stumble into. A happy accident, maybe you are the right person in the right place at the right time, but still you have worked to put yourself in that place and time.
Over the last five years I have been very grateful for everything that writing this daily blog has brought my way, for all the things that I have stumbled into! I’m thankful for the funny looks from people who don’t get it; strange looks from people who do get it but think it’s kind of weird to do; grateful emails from people who have been helped by one or more posts.
I’m very thankful to Nathan-in-2017 for following the idea of a daily blog and for all other iterations of me over the last five years who kept going.
If you find yourself encountering a happy accident situation, recognise and remember the work that you’ve done. Be grateful when your hard work pays off.
Use all of that to keep going.