Annual Review meeting, a friend or foe?
I have now completed my first Annual Review (AR) so I think that my first year PhD has officially ended. I’m now sailing to my second year PhD studies and to becoming a senior student too!
I was nervous before the AR meeting because I had to step out of the comfort zone of usual supervision meeting where there are only my supervisors who know my research from day one I came here. So, I prepared by making a list of my learning activities in year one and thinking how those activities have shaped the present me as a researcher. I also reread the reflections I wrote after major events in my first year and said to myself that I worked hard enough in my year one. I certainly learned a great deal and deserve to move on! Before the AR, I was excited and nervous (as usual) so I sat quietly with myself. I need to be calm and maintain my (gentle northern Thai) speed. “Don’t panic”, I told myself.
At the AR, I had a conversation with Dr. Gary Motteram, my “independent reviewer” whom rarely knows about me and my research before. My job was to talk to Gay about what I have been up to with my studies such as what I have acquired from the MSc modules, my involvement in conferences and my pilot study experience. Gary also asked if there was anything I felt insufficient after the completion of my year one units. He then gave great advices on the points that I used to overlook.
For the AR, I took a privilege of an end-of-year-one PhD student. Before the meeting, although I was serious about it, I did not regard it as a “high risk” assessment or a matter of life and death. I thought it would be fine if the reviewers see that I am imperfect. Yet, one of Richard’ s comments after the AR meeting struck me. He said there is no such thing as “low risk” and I should see this as a practice for my Panel and Viva where I am the one who takes charge in delivering my studies to a wider audience as best as I can.
In short, an AR is a friend, not foe. Best of luck for your AR!