Temperature Rising, Dissertation Revising…

…by Kayla / from the United States / Master of Public Health 2017-2018

When I did a self-commitment to write monthly blogs no one told me it would be so tough to do in the midst of dissertation season. Truth is there is so much that I want to share but so little time to write because I feel guilty for taking away time I could be working on dissertation. Although this blog may be short, it is a true joy to share with you. I want to 100% real in this blog; for the sake of being transparent with others who are interested and for my  future self that will want look back to read this.

My post-grad friends that are reading this ; I know you can relate. Below are a list of 35 questions and statements I hear almost every day; some from others, and some internally.

-How far along are you on your dissertation?

-Are you doing qualitative or quantitative research?

– Can you read this really quick to let me know if it makes sense?

-I have a meeting with my supervisors.

– Thanks for the invite, but I actually need a mental break right now.

-I actually had a really good meeting. I am finding themes in the literature that reflect….

– I don’t know what I am doing!

-How long are you going to be at the library today?

-Let’s get this dissertation done early so that we can enjoy the August Fringe Festival!

– We only have 2 months left! Time as went so fast.

-Can you be a part of my study?

-Can you take 15 min to fill out this survey for my research?

-Okay let’s hold each other accountable to wake up early to go to the library.

-This dissertation isn’t going to write itself.

– Scrolls through Facebook * weddings, engagements, babies, new professional careers OH MY!

-Hey, are you okay? Lets get food, Food makes everything better

-Do you want to go to Tesco or Lidl ?

-Should I actually cook or just get the £3 meal deal to save time?

-Make sure you are taking care of yourself.

-Barbecue in the Meadows?

– What’s your next step?

-When does your visa expire?

-Have you started applying for jobs?

-Praying for you girl!

 -When are you going home? How do you feel about going home?

– I am going to miss everyone here so much.

-Are you staying in the UK after September?

-Are you going to make it to graduation in November?

-Why does Edinburgh feel like Texas heat right now?

-Why is it so cold at night? I should not need a jacket in July!

-Did you know the Queen is in Scotland? She is having a garden party!

-Who is playing tonight?

-Who are you going for? -Any team who is playing against England (mainly the thoughts of my Scottish friends lol).

-Do you want to take a break from dissertation to watch the World Cup?

-We got this!

As you can see from this dialogue, a lot has been going on. Although you may not understand the context of every statement, each one is a reflection of my recent day to day life.  A lot has been running through my mind lately, but the overwhelming amount of support I have from my community here in Edinburgh, my dissertation supervisors, and friends and family back home is unmeasurable.

The rest of this blog will give you highlights  of the month of June in bullet point format and  separated into two parts; the first three weeks of the month and the recent past three weeks (which more so reflects what is written above).

First three weeks in June:

-Finalising Ethics took quite a while but my research was finally approved by both ethics committees

– I spent almost one week strictly doing background reading on my dissertation topic. I was focused on readings studies on mental wellbeing in schools and teaching pedagogy in the context of many countries but mainly focusing on Scotland. My friend Miranda whom is an amazing teacher back in Texas actually gave me a lot insight on her experience teaching when we had a practice Skype interview earlier last month. It is such a motivating thing to see friends you studied with thriving in their professions.

– I travelled to Madrid, Spain! All I can say is BEAUTIFUL! The food, the architecture, the environment with music in the streets and flamenco dresses was simply amazing. I secretly may like Madrid better that Barcelona .We even found delicious tacos for 1 euro each. When you have been away from Texas for almost a year, you would understand that this is like finding a pot of gold!

– Afterwards my friends and I travelled to Marrakesh, Morocco! Long story short: back in February my friend Leslie, May, and I found unbelievably cheap tickets for £16 to Marrakesh. NORTH AFRICA! It has always been my dream to set foot on the continent of Africa, but I didn’t think that would be possible for a long time. Thanks to the cheap flights of Ryan Air and currency conversion rates that worked in our favour, this dream became a reality.  We immediately secured the deal and started planning this on a student budget.

As you can see (from the cover picture) we were able to do camel rides near the Sahara Dessert! This trip to Morocco was very interesting, it was not like any country I ever travelled to. All of my five senses were heighten as I experienced culture shock on so many levels. I can write a full blog on my experience in Marrakesh. We learned a few Arabic words, experienced what Ramadan was like in an Islamic country, learned how to properly haggle for goods with merchants, gained a new found love for Moroccan mint tea and tajine dishes, and many other life lessons that I am still reflecting on. I truly value traveling to countries were the main language isn’t English because you realise there is such a significance to communication and learning about someone else’s way of life. I do wish to go back and visit Morocco one day with a guide native to the area.

 Last three weeks:

-I finished collecting data by conducting interviews at a local secondary school

-Going back to transcribe those interview. (It took ages, but it is finally done!)

-Falling in and out of productiveness with my dissertation

– I have been planning a couple of end of the year RA related events (Bowling Night & Charity Concert)

– I attended Surge 2018 which was a combined service with many churches in Edinburgh and all around Scotland. It was very powerful and encouraging to see God work to unify people in this area

– My TAMU-CC brother Chris visits Edinburgh and connected so well my friends here in Edinburgh. It is always nice to see Scotland through a pair of fresh eyes

– I volunteered with the Rotary Club of Corstorphine at the Royal Highland Show, one of Scotland’s largest agricultural summer events

– I spent 4th of July with some of my MPH course mates in the Meadows. It was so nice to reconnect with them and see us do a makeshift American celebration in Great Britain

-Taking mini short breaks to explore nearby scenic nature paths like the Pentlands

The rest of July I will mostly be working on my dissertation non-stop. It is crunch time! I plan to have everything completed by August 1st so that I can spend the rest of time editing and doing final touches. I will also be preparing “next-step plans” once this chapter of my life will be over in September .Please be praying for me to be led to the right opportunities. I am also looking forward to my next VERY special visitors who will be coming from Texas near the end of July, my long time high school best friend Mackenzie and her wonderful mom! I am really excited to spend time with them both.

Until then, please take care. Stay tune for the next updates.

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