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    Culture weekends - Sep 22nd, 2019
    The last three weekends have been quite busy for me, with fun activities to keep me busy. The first weekend was the annual Roslin Village Fete, followed by a weekend attending a talk at Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden, and finishing this past weekend with a visit to the National Galleries of Scotland for an art exhibition. There was quite a bit of walking involved, too! [more...]

    The doctor is in: Frances Ryan, PhD - Jul 6th, 2019
    It has been a long time coming, but I am finally a doctor. Oh yes, I am now officially Dr Frances Ryan. The PhD kind of doctor, not the medical kind – just so that there is no doubt. [more...]

    My thesis shoes - Jul 1st, 2019
    Regular readers will know that my PhD Dreams have been an important part of my life for a few years now. And excitedly, my PhD Dreams will come true this week when I walk across the stage at Usher Hall to accept my degree from Edinburgh Napier University. Of course, an important walk like that deserves a very special pair of shoes. In fact, an important walk like that deserves a pair of one-of-a-kind thesis shoes! [more...]

    The doctor will be with you shortly - Jun 15th, 2019
    That’s my final thesis submitted and all of the paperwork completed for my PhD graduation on the 4th of July. Are you as excited as I am? [more...]

    Passed, with minor corrections - Mar 3rd, 2019
    I am very pleased and extremely relieved to be able to (finally!) announce that I have passed my PhD viva – and with only minor corrections! This good news comes after more than five years of hard work and emotional turmoil, and I am just so thankful that my PhD Dreams are almost a reality. [more...]

    45, yet only 21 - Feb 21st, 2019
    Today is Thursday, 21 February. I was born on Thursday, 21 February. And on this very Thursday, 21 February, I am 21 in Scrabble tiles. [more...]

    An adventure to the anatomical museum - Nov 25th, 2018
    Yesterday’s adventure day out was a trip to the Anatomical Museum at The University of Edinburgh. The museum was never really on my radar, but I learned through last weekend’s Bloodscape adventure that it would be open this weekend. So, it just seemed that visiting was “meant to be”. And to further the kismet-ness of the day, as I waited for my bus into town, I visited the museum’s Twitter feed and learned that there was a lecture about William Burke that was due to start shortly after my planned arrival time. [more...]

    Bloodscape: An adventure - Nov 18th, 2018
    I took part in a fun, blood-themed scavenger hunt yesterday. The event, Bloodscape, was designed to explore changing blood trends as part of the 2018 Being Human Festival. As someone who has a rare blood disease, and who loves geeky learning adventures, I was thrilled to be able to participate! [more...]

    Thesis season: September update - Sep 1st, 2018
    As thesis season continues, I am starting to feel more and more confident that I will manage to complete my thesis without (too terribly much) stress. And as September begins, I am excited (and nervous) about the next 61 days. (Yikes! Only 61 days to finish writing. How scary!) [more...]

    Thesis season: August update - Aug 2nd, 2018
    With August now upon us, I am aware that there are only three months remaining for “thesis season”. And that is a scary realisation when I stop to think about how much work I have yet to do. And so, the next three months will be spent writing, writing, writing… and writing a bit more. [more...]

    Thesis season - Jul 1st, 2018
    Wow! It is the 1st of July already. And that means that my PhD thesis is due in just four months’ time. Yikes! Of course, that means that the next four months will be all about my thesis. Thesis, thesis, thesis. And writing, writing, writing. And, most likely, stressing, stressing, stressing. [more...]

    A wee pilgrimage to St Anthony’s Chapel - Feb 24th, 2018
    Today was another climb up Arthur’s Seat, as part of my goal to climb the hill at least once a month for the whole of 2018. It was also my first solo climb to the top and my first time exploring the ruins of St Anthony’s Chapel. [more...]

    Busy presenting - Jul 3rd, 2017
    In recent weeks, I have been busy presenting work related to my PhD. The first two of these presentations were as workshops designed to help others understand how to manage their online information. The second two presentations were sharing the findings from my empirical work as an academic poster and a conference paper. I think that Just Frances readers might enjoy some of the materials I sent, so I’ve decided to share a bit about it here. [more...]

    Thesis summer - Jul 1st, 2016
    This summer is Thesis Summer for me. It’s the summer when I must, without excuses, get my head down and write, write, write! Luckily, July and August are two months devoid of conferences, training events, seminars, and other activities that take me away from my focus. So I’ve decided that I will devote them to my thesis; I will devote them to my PhD dreams. [more...]

    The answer to life, the universe, and everything - Feb 21st, 2016
    Today is a special day in my life. Today is the day I become the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Yes, today I am 42! [more...]

    A winning week! - Jan 15th, 2016
    I attended the International Data and Information Management Conference in Loughborough (England) this week. The conference was a great opportunity to meet with other information science researchers—and to present my own research. But it was also a great opportunity to win back some of my academic self-esteem and self-confidence. [more...]

    Edinburgh: A city in perpetual change - Nov 20th, 2015
    I spent last night getting lost in discussions about Edinburgh’s urban landscapes as part of a panel discussion called Lost+Found in Edinburgh: Our city today. The event was part of the Being Human Festival, a festival to celebrate the humanities, and was certainly a fun way to waste away a couple of hours in the middle of the week. [more...]

    Another year closer - Nov 16th, 2015
    Yesterday marked two years since I began my PhD studies. And that means I am another year closer to being Doctor Ryan. It’s a title I’ve longed for since I first began my bachelor’s degree all those years ago, and being this close to actually having it is pretty exciting! [more...]

    The love point - Sep 24th, 2015
    Once again, National Punctuation Day is upon us. And that means I am going to talk about one of my favourite things—punctuation! But I’m going to change things up this year by talking about punctuation as it (may) relate to love. Because we all need a bit of love (and punctuation) in our lives. [more...]

    Choo-choo to Abbotsford - Sep 6th, 2015
    Today was opening day for the new Borders Railway between Edinburgh and Tweedbank. And as I am a bit of a train buff who enjoys being “first” to try new things, it made sense that I should make the journey. So that’s exactly what I did today: I rode the rails between Edinburgh and Tweedbank. Along with all the other train geeks in Scotland! [more...]

    A year of PhD dreams - Nov 16th, 2014
    Yesterday marked one calendar year since I matriculated as a research student in the Institute for Informatics and Digital Innovation at Edinburgh Napier University. It’s hard to believe that more than 15 years after first thinking about a PhD, I’m finally making progress on one! [more...]

    Dating data - Apr 14th, 2014
    As part of my decision to be a bit more proactive about my return to the dating world, I’ve enlisted the help of a couple of friends who’ve assisted with (gulp!) online dating profiles as well as a few “old fashioned” introductions. [more...]

    Just four years - Feb 15th, 2014
    Just Frances is four years old. Wow! Can you believe that I’ve been spewing this utter nonsense for that long? And if you thought I might be nearing the end of rubbish things to talk about, you’re wrong. (No apologies. If you don’t like it, you can just stop reading!) [more...]

    Inspiration from writers - Jan 4th, 2014
    Tucked away in a wee close off of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is one of my favourite museums in the city. It’s the Writers’ Museum in Lady Stair’s Close and despite the fact that it’s small and the exhibits don’t change, I find it to be a place of inspiration each time I go. [more...]

    For the love of books - Dec 4th, 2013
    On Monday, I became the proud owner of a National Library of Scotland membership card. It was one of life's enjoyable moments and brought me the same elation I recall from my first-ever library card for the Carpenter Memorial Library in my hometown many, many years ago. [more...]

    Am I an imposter? - Dec 4th, 2013
    Last night I went to my first Connect talk, and I was left feeling that I certainly need to connect with Connect a bit more! Connect is for women studying computing, engineering, and the built environment at Edinburgh Napier University and, as I am doing my PhD in the School of Computing, I get to be a part of it. [more...]

    Take up your quills! - Nov 26th, 2013
    As regular readers may know, I am a fan of letters. Proper, hand-written letters sent to family and friends—or even to perfect strangers if there's cause. I honestly believe that if more people would write letters to those they care for, relationships would flourish and people would be happier. (Naïve? Maybe.) [more...]

    PhD dreams: Week 1 - Nov 22nd, 2013
    It’s been a calendar week since I formally matriculated as a PhD student and a “work” week since my first day as a PhD student. So—as promised—here’s a wee recap! [more...]

    My Halloween interrobang - Oct 31st, 2013
    When it was determined that I would be in America for Halloween this year, I began to think about what I would dress up as. [more...]

    A Stirling offer - Jul 4th, 2013
    I won’t keep you long today because I’m just way too excited to blather on and on about my dreams of earning a PhD. Instead, I will just make an announcement and get back to my Independence Day celebrations (which have taken on an additional flair this year!). [more...]

    The genius theory - May 10th, 2013
    I took a bit of a self-esteem stumble after being pushed by some hurtful words over the weekend. I really let the words get to me and I started to doubt my goals because of them. [more...]

    Separated by a common language - Mar 4th, 2013
    It’s National Grammar Day in America, when grammarians will march forth on March 4th to spread the good word. (That’s good word, not well word.) And as a lingual hobbyist, I couldn’t resist the urge to join in. [more...]

    Via, Veritas, Vita - Feb 26th, 2013
    Remember how I told you that I submitted my first PhD application? And that I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t get accepted? Well, that concern seems to have been unwarranted because I have been offered a place at the University of Glasgow, beginning this autumn. Oh yes, I have! [more...]

    I am a cyborg: A personal reflection - Feb 11th, 2013
    To celebrate submitting my first PhD application yesterday, I thought I’d share with you my first writing assignment from my master’s programme. [more...]

    Submitted - Feb 10th, 2013
    Wow! I’ve just submitted an application for a PhD programme. That’s just crazy! I mean, I’m the girl who suffered years of speech therapy—and the mocking that goes along with having speech problems. [more...]

    Before we blogged - Jan 11th, 2013
    Today I stumbled upon a new blog by the Stirling Library Archives. The blog will post highlights from the 1813 entries in Dr Thomas Lucas’ diaries, a Stirling-based surgeon. [more...]

    Coming soon… - Jan 6th, 2013
    Regular Just Frances readers might know that the 'real' site has been down since mid-October, with my last post happening on October 5. When the decision was made to take the site down for much-needed upgrades, I think everyone involved (i.e.: me and my awesome Web Guru) thought it would be a short-lived disruption. [more...]

    Bonus! - Dec 20th, 2012
    Back in August when I started my new job, the biggest bonus was that my employer was actually willing to sponsor me for a work visa. Those of you who’ve attempted to live in a country other than your native one will understand what a tremendous bonus this is. [more...]

    The master - Nov 23rd, 2012
    The day you’ve all been waiting for has arrived! Today is the day that I completed one of my life goals. Yes, today is the day that I graduated—with distinction!—from the University of Stirling with a Master of Letters in Media and Culture. [more...]

    The distinguished lady - Nov 16th, 2012
    You’ve slogged through post after post of me going on and on about my goal to earn my master’s degree. You’ve listened to me whine about how I had to write loads and loads of words for my dissertation. [more...]

    Writer’s cramp - Sep 26th, 2012
    Today is Day 3 of Social Media Week, so I thought I’d talk about correspondence. You see, for all of the wonderfulness of social media, it has a lot to answer for in regards to the breakdown of communication. [more...]

    Digital Diaries - Sep 25th, 2012
    To celebrate Social Media Week, I have decided to share a paper I wrote a few months ago about digital diaries and online identities. It was a difficult paper to write because I needed to balance sharing my ‘personal’ life with the academic side of the equation, but it was a good exercise. [more...]

    A case for the interrobang - Sep 24th, 2012
    Today is National Punctuation Day in America—a day to celebrate the amazingness of punctuation. Today also marks the start of Social Media Week—a world-wide event looking at social media’s impact on modern-day society. [more...]

    Virtually friends - Aug 21st, 2012
    Last week, I sent a panicked message to my Facebook friends when I learned that there were issues with Just Frances that meant the site needed to be taken down for a spell. I was panicked and stressed and, quite frankly, in a bit of hysterics because this site means so much to me and has been such an important part of my grief process—my healing process. [more...]

    Sing a song - Aug 3rd, 2012
    For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to sing—or hum or whistle or la-de-da. Now, I’m not saying I’m any good at it, I’m just saying I love to do it. And, often, I find myself doing it without even thinking about it. Yes, I just break out into a tune. (In a very out-of-tune kind of way.) [more...]

    (K)impossible - Aug 2nd, 2012
    This is Kim. Kim Possible, to use her full name. She began her life as a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy way back in 2003 and has been serving as my office power back-up since August 2004. [more...]

    Gadget Girl - Jul 26th, 2012
    Yep, that’s me: Gadget Girl. OK, I admit that I’m not the most gadgety of all gadget girls, but I’m certainly the first place contender in my little bit of the world. And I would guess that if I had the income to support it, I would probably be a contender for the world as a whole. [more...]

    I broke it! - Jul 19th, 2012
    Yikes! Were you on Just Frances yesterday? Well, if you were you may have noticed a 12+ hour period where the site was broken. The main page worked (mostly) but all of the other pages were kicking up an error. [more...]

    Dissertation month update; Part 3 - Jul 11th, 2012
    In less than two weeks’ time, I have to have a full draft of my dissertation ready to turn into my supervisor for his review. (After which, I will have a couple of weeks to make final edits before it’s due.) It seems that Dissertation Month is going by so quickly! [more...]

    Listening for the phone - Jun 29th, 2012
    When I was in high school, my sister (I think?*) wrote a poem that went something like this: [more...]

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