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    November down - Nov 15th, 2018
    Remember when I talked about the frustrations of the chronically ill? Well, my failed plans for an active November are a part of that frustration! Yes, I am half-way through my planned super-productive, super-active, and super-plugged-in November, and I've accomplished nothing. There's nothing like a bit of chronic illness to remind you that you're not actually in charge of your own health! [more...]

    Thesis = Submitted! - Nov 1st, 2018
    As any regular Just Frances reader will know, my PhD Dreams began a few years ago. And my actual PhD studies began nearly five years ago. And now, I have finally submitted my PhD thesis for examination. (Yay!) [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...]

    Applying for the next phase - Apr 20th, 2018
    I submitted my first post-PhD life job application today, which I am counting as a milestone moment (hence the celebratory bubbles illustrating this post). [more...]

    Accepted: “Blurred reputations: Managing professional and private information online” - Mar 16th, 2018
    Note: This post was originally shared on my PhD blog, www.FrancesRyanPhD.com. Last month, I was notified that a journal paper I wrote has been accepted for publication. The paper, “Blurred reputations: Managing professional and private information online”, was co-authored with my PhD supervisors, Peter Cruickshank, Professor Hazel Hall, and Alistair Lawson. It began life as a peer-reviewed conference paper at the Information: Interactions and Impact Conference (i3) in Aberdeen, Scotland and has since been expanded and refined for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of Librarianship and Information Science. [more...]

    Arthur’s inspiration - Jan 16th, 2018
    I found myself at the top of Arthur’s Seat this past weekend, which means I’ve reached the summit two months in a row—after not having climbed the hill in about a year. My December climb was with my nieces and a friend from my university and this weekend’s trip to the top was with a friend who was visiting from out of town. Each climb was a different experience and combined they gave me a bit of inspiration for the year ahead. [more...]

    2018: Just a PhD - Jan 1st, 2018
    A new year means a new resolution. And this year, I have just one resolution: To finish my PhD. Yes, that’s it: My 2018 New Year resolution is just a PhD. [more...]

    2017: Undone, indeed - Dec 31st, 2017
    2017 is over. It was meant to be my “year of doing” but, alas, it would seem that it was a year undone. Undone, indeed*. [more...]

    Deck the halls - Dec 19th, 2017
    Christmas is coming—as are two of my nieces—so I have decked the halls! But the boughs of holly will have to wait for a couple of days, because the girls will need to collect them from grounds of the estate after they arrive. After all, it’s only fair that they do at least some of the decorating, since if they weren’t coming I probably wouldn’t have done any decorating! [more...]

    DC in a nutshell - Nov 7th, 2017
    I spent last week in Washington, DC for an academic conference. But as luck would have it, I was able to catch up with several friends whilst I was there, too. This post is about that week, in a nutshell. [more...]

    An ambitious October - Oct 1st, 2017
    After returning from my Homeland Holidays at the end of August, I had great hopes for a spectacular September for my PhD. Only I got sick that first week and spent the whole of the month recovering from my visit to my deathbed. Sadly, that less-than-spectacular September means that I need to have an overly ambitious October to catch up. [more...]

    The holiday ends here - Aug 29th, 2017
    After three wonderful weeks in the Homeland, I am heading home to my Heartland of Scotland. My bags are packed, I’ve checked in at the airport, and I’m waiting for my flight to board. And I am crying. As I always do when I say goodbye to my parents. [more...]

    The holiday starts here - Aug 7th, 2017
    After nearly three years, I am finally heading home to America for a holiday. My bags are packed, my tickets are printed, and my excitement levels are high. And, apparently, there is a cold root beer waiting for me on the other side of the customs and immigration barriers. (Along with hugs from my parents.) Yay! [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...]

    Toasting twelve years - May 22nd, 2017
    Yesterday was (would have been?) my 12th wedding anniversary. And much like last year, I spent the day distracting myself with my PhD before taking some time to reflect and remember my happy days as a happy wife. This year was a bit different, however, as I didn’t spend the day alone. Instead, I travelled to Falkirk in the afternoon after spending the morning in my office. [more...]

    Mental Health Awareness week: Knowing my limits - May 8th, 2017
    It is Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK, so I thought I’d share a bit about my recent efforts to keep my mental health in check. As someone who does not live with mental illness, keeping things in check is a bit easier for me. But as someone who lives a largely isolated and lonely life, I am aware that if I do not make concerted efforts to maintain my mental health, I could well end up with mental illness. [more...]

    May madness - May 1st, 2017
    As I enter the lovely month of May, I am aware that it will be a manic month filled with mayhem and madness. There is so much to be done and I know that I risk becoming overwhelmed and stressed because of it. So, I’ve decided to embrace May’s madness from the start because I manage better when I know I’m entering a mentally challenging time. [more...]

    Caching around Rosshall Park - Apr 8th, 2017
    I’m in Glasgow for a much-needed writing retreat (and a bit of cat-sitting). And one of the things that helps to keep me going on writing-intensive retreats is getting out for mini-adventures. So once I finished today’s to-do list, that’s just what I did—I went on a mini-adventure! [more...]

    Thesis writing season - Feb 1st, 2017
    I am entering thesis writing season now and am really looking forward to the stress and excitement that it will bring. I am not sure how long this season will last, and I’m not sure how my well-being will survive it, but I am really looking forward to it. Not because I’m looking forward to experiencing the stress, but because getting through this season is a massive part of getting to the Doctor Ryan bit of these PhD Dreams of mine. [more...]

    Dangerous widows - Jan 25th, 2017
    When the Dangerous Women Project was launched last year, I immediately found myself wondering if I was a dangerous woman. I wondered if there was anything about my life that could be construed as “dangerous”, or if I was just your average, run-of-the-mill woman. Of course, I knew that just the act of being an outspoken woman who would dare to live an independent life, doing as I pleased, made me dangerous. In that respect, most western women are dangerous—but is that dangerous enough to be called dangerous? (I don't know.) [more...]

    Just published - Dec 7th, 2016
    One of the cool things about having your own blog that is just about you (as Just Frances is) means that I get to shout from the keyboard when I’ve managed to reach a personal goal. So, here goes: This week, I had an academic paper published! (Yes, a successful academic career is a personal goal!) [more...]

    Preparing for cosy - Dec 4th, 2016
    Winter is sneaking up upon us and that means cosy nights in front of a crackling fire. But in order to enjoy those cosy evenings, I need fuel for the fire. So today, I combined my much-needed daily exercise with gathering fire-starters. (Also known as pinecones.) [more...]

    I wobbled - Nov 7th, 2016
    Sometimes in life, you wobble. And no matter how strong and sturdy you thought you were, you begin to sway back and forth; wobbling. That’s what happened to me these past few days: I have started to wobble. [more...]

    The buck stops here - Oct 27th, 2016
    That’s it folks: the buck stops here. Actually, I suppose I should say the pound stops here. Why? Because my last PhD stipend payment was today, and that means I have no more money coming into my bank accounts—bucks, bobs, quids, or otherwise—until I am finished with my PhD and I get a job. [more...]

    Denmark bound! - Oct 15th, 2016
    I am off on my travels again. This time, I am heading to Denmark for the 2016 Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIST) Annual meeting in Copenhagen. The adventure is largely supported by a grant from the John Campbell Trust, and my school is making up the difference. Just one of the (many) wonderful things about PhD student life! [more...]

    Finding calm - Oct 10th, 2016
    My time at Serenity Lodge is coming to an end, and I am finding that the calming serenity I found here is starting to fade away, too. Not because this has become a less calming place, but rather because I know that the calm will (mostly) end when I re-enter my reality later tomorrow. [more...]

    Serenity now - Sep 29th, 2016
    I’m writing this post from Serenity Lodge, my home for the next two weeks. My view from the deck overlooks the River Devon as it flows through Clackmannanshire on the outskirts of Dollar. It is peaceful, despite the three Labradoodles and chatty parrot I’m sharing the space with, and I am sure the location will help me find a bit of my own serenity! [more...]

    With love from Zadar - Sep 24th, 2016
    I love Zadar! I really do. I arrived here last Sunday for an academic conference and I will be travelling home tomorrow. But in this one week, I fell in love with Zadar. [more...]

    Croatia bound! - Sep 17th, 2016
    Bright and early tomorrow morning, long before the sun rises, my alarm clock will gently bring me out of Dream World. I will stumble out of bed, groggy and sleepy-eyed, and make my way to the kitchen to get my moka pot started making my morning coffee. And about an hour later—around 4:30—a taxi will arrive to take me to the airport. Because tomorrow morning, I am Croatia bound! [more...]

    Broken ankle, Phase II: Learning to walk again - Sep 6th, 2016
    I broke my ankle a little over six weeks ago. At first, there was a bit of novelty to my first-ever broken bone. After a couple of days, I was becoming very unhappy with the lack of mobility—and the pain! However, there was very little I could do at the time other than let nature take its healing course. But now I’m ready for Phase II: Learning to walk again! [more...]

    Third passport firsts - Aug 27th, 2016
    I received my new American passport yesterday. But despite this being my third passport, it will also mark several passport firsts in my life. But then, each of my passports have marked important “firsts” in my life! [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...]

    Representations of me - Jun 22nd, 2016
    I attended a PhD workshop the other week. It was one of those touchy-feely things where they wanted to talk about coping strategies for balancing life and a PhD. About half-way through the day, we were all handed a lump of grey clay and asked to make a representation of ourselves out of it. And that’s when I realised I really didn’t want to be in this workshop! But I was there, so I had to play along. [more...]

    Darting around Devon - Jun 5th, 2016
    I was invited to speak at a conference in Devon this past week, so decided to take the opportunity for a bit of sightseeing along the River Dart whilst I was down south. After all, you should never pass up the chance to explore and learn something new! [more...]

    Digitally medieval - Jun 3rd, 2016
    I’ve spent the last two days at the 5th annual Discover Academic Research, Training, and Support (DARTS) conference in Devon, England, where I was invited to speak about my PhD research into online reputation. The conference, with a focus on engendering a (digital) research culture, was held at Dartington Hall—a medieval manor house that was built between 1388-1400. [more...]

    Dream day - May 21st, 2016
    Eleven years ago, I entered a beautiful dream world: The dream of happily ever after with my amazing new husband. And whilst being a Mrs had never been a childhood dream, being Mrs Ryan was the answer to my dreams of being happy with my life’s course. And together, we build a wonderfully happy dream world. [more...]

    An undeserved first - May 16th, 2016
    Last week was the School of Computing PhD Conference, where all PhD students were expected to present their research. It was a long, busy day—especially as I was on the conference committee and was in charge of a couple of addresses (welcome and wrap-up stuff) as well as serving as replacement chair for the first-year presentations. And all of that public speaking was fine. But then I had to present my own third-year research towards the end of the day and nerves took over! [more...]

    A funny(ish) Frances - Feb 28th, 2016
    Like many people, I fancy myself a bit of a comedienne. I like to crack jokes and I regularly have episodes of SUBS syndrome that I just can’t control. I’m not suggesting that I am the funniest woman in the world, of course, it’s just that I can’t resist a (bad) joke. In fact, if it weren’t for bad jokes, I wouldn’t have any to tell! [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...]

    Starting 2016 - Jan 1st, 2016
    I woke up this morning ready to start the New Year with hope and faith for a good 2016. Not with the naive notion that this will be the best year I’ve ever had, nor with the belief that it will be a year of nothing but joy and happiness. No, I don’t dream of a perfect year, as I know perfection is a myth. Instead, I simply dream of a year where I am more happy than sad; more healthy than ill; more productive than lazy; more optimistic than bleak. I pray for a year that starts and ends with laughter and friendship. [more...]

    Wrapping up 2015 - Dec 31st, 2015
    With 2015 quickly coming to an end, it’s time for a bit of reflection. And as I look back at my hopes for the year, I am pleased to say that I’ve succeed in all but one of my hopes—the desire to learn how to sew a skirt. But I didn’t even attempt that one, as I realised it isn’t a truly important goal for me. And so, I’m calling the year a success! [more...]

    A selfie Christmas - Dec 25th, 2015
    Hello and merry Christmas to you all! As I mentioned the other day, I am spending my Christmas (mostly) alone—but I am doing so with new and old traditions to keep me company! [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...]

    Resetting routines - Apr 13th, 2015
    I spoke the other day about the higher-than-normal levels of personal stress I’m experiencing, and that I feel I need a break from my current way of life to re-set my soul. Part of the problem is that I’ve been unable (unwilling? unmotivated?) to create a routine over the past 18 months. [more...]

    Breaking points - Apr 9th, 2015
    Life is hard these days and sometimes I wonder what my limits are. Sometimes I wonder how many more disappointments and frustrations I can manage before I reach my breaking point. And, to be completely honest, I’ve felt very close to finding out in recent weeks and months. [more...]

    Deconstructing 40 - Feb 20th, 2015
    Today is my last day as a 40-year-old woman. It’s the last day of what I had hoped would be an empowering and fabulous year of my life. But really, it’s just the last day of another year of my life. Nothing life-changing; nothing that will carry me through to the next year. It was, just a year. [more...]

    Life laughs - Jan 19th, 2015
    Sometimes I feel like the world is laughing at me; like life is laughing at me. Sometimes I feel like my entire life has been one failed attempt at happiness after another—though with short bursts of joy before tragedy strikes! [more...]

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