It doesn’t feel like it’s been too long since I’ve started my PhD (in October 2016), yet my annual review is already looming. While a year seems like a long time, time does fly.
Still it does not feel like an annual review and it actually, really, genuinely isn’t one…
An academic year is not a year and so, in essence, an annual review is what we could in fact call an academic annual review (AAR).
To be frank, the use of the concept or word ‘year’ in discussions at the department – and in academia in general – throws me off, because more often than not the type of year (academic vs. non-academic) isn’t specified. As PhD students – also referred to as PGR students in the UK – we are, for instance, given a ‘yearly’ printing allowance, but whether this is the year or the academic year… nobody really knows. And so I stand there with a frown asking the other person to please specify what kind of year is meant, in a way that hopefully isn’t too pedantic.
This somehow reminds me of the distance between academia and the ‘outside world’, the phenomenon that us academics, and PhD researchers more specifically, probably do live in a bubble. It may serve as a reminder that what we see as self-evident may not be perceived as such by others. To successfully spread our ideas and make an impact outside of academia we need to leave our bubbles and specify, clarify and again verify our research and findings.