Many of my friends seem to have everlasting memories of doing their Ph D’s and I am beginning to see why. As I move through the seventh year since I started mine my current thoughts are just to get it finished. I haven’t lost the desire for, or interest in my field of study but I am so tired of the restrictive format of a thesis.

I have just had a paper accepted for a conference, my first for nearly two years. Last year I just didn’t bother. The first half of the year was spent in limbo while the University decided what to do about my studies and the second half I was getting used to a new panel, this time one with expertise in my area which is making a huge difference. I have never stopped reading about ageing (and experiencing it!) but there always seem to be new ways of looking at it. I have been given permission by the Alzheimer’s Association to ask their members if I could interview them to talk about their lives before they became ill. This is something I am keen to follow-up once my thesis has been resubmitted.

Meanwhile I am tutoring sociology again. I only have the opportunity to do it in the first half of the year and it is such a joy to be doing something with the students that is important and part of their lives and current. There is so much going on in the world today – much of it is happening without us being aware of it. The knowledge revolution is recognised but few seem to be aware that the way we access it is changing (through a multiplicity of small bites) which is probably altering the way we process it.

I think that a major impact of this is in the media where they seem to have fewer staff and tighter deadlines. I suspect that the publicity arm of our opposition is fully aware of the situation and cashing in on it. A few weeks ago the opposition leader made a statement which never should have been made. By the end of the day, instead of the blame being laid at his door the media had managed to turn it around to lay the blame on the Prime Minister.

Such situations are a reminder of the subtle way our world is changing, particularly the media part of it which is having change thrust upon it. We need to be aware of it otherwise it could do enormous harm. Unacceptable events in the media in the UK went on for years before it was realised that something undesirable was happening. If we are alert to the way our world is changing we may be able to pick up such practices at the start.

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