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Blog: Doctor Hibbett (pending)

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Years and years and years ago, when I worked at The University Of Leicester, I had the chance to do a PhD. I worked in Medical Statistics at the time so the idea was I'd be researching THAT. I was excited about the idea of being called DOCTOR Hibbett, so investigated what it would actually involve. "It's a lot of work", everyone said, "it takes over your life, so make sure it's something you're really interested in."

Now, I spent over 20 years working in the field of Medical Statistics and, with the best will in the world, "Interested in" is not how I would describe my relationship with it. "Catatonically bored by" would be nearer the mark, even back then, so I decided that perhaps that wasn't the best idea in the world. It was a decision I have always been VERY happy with.

However, flash forward a decade and a half and I find myself in possession of a DISTINCTION for my post-graduate degree. I only mention my DISTINCTION because it is important for the rest of the story, I don't like to go on about my DISTINCTION. After all, it's just a DISTINCTION isn't it? A DISTINCTION is good for two things: 1) showing off and 2) getting accepted to do a PhD and as I'd already done a lot of the former I thought I'd try the latter (not least because eventually being called Doctor Hibbett would lead to a LOT of showing off). Thus I had a think about what I'd be really interested in doing. My first thought - as it is on a daily basis - was THE BEATLES, but I soon realised that this would lead me to becoming, basically, a music critic i.e. the lowest form of human life imaginable, so I turned to the SECOND thing I usually think about: COMICS!

This turned out to be a Pretty Good Idea - comics is a BURGEONING topic in The Arts and there are several Actual Courses you can do. There are also several PROFESSORS of it, including a very nice chap at St Martins College who not only met me for a cup of tea and a LENGTHY and EXCITED chat but then also got me into an Art Exhibition for some FREE BOOZE. This is my kind of Professor! I then wrote up a proposal which he suggested some amendments to, sent it in, and got invited to an INTERVIEW!!

I was told to prepare a Presentation so I did for this by having A Good Old Think. When I got in they asked if I needed a computer so I said "Oh no, I prefer to do it verbally" and they all looked IMPRESSED. This was GRATE news as I was expecting them to say "Come off it, you haven't prepared at all have you?" to which I fear the answer "I've had A Good Old Think!" would have been inadequate. Anyway, it all went really really well and I was THOROUGHLY enjoying talking about COMICS until I came to the fateful question: "What research methodology theory will be using?"

URK! PANIC! I had absolutely NO IDEA what to say. I went "UMMMMM" for a bit then realised that honesty was probably the best policy so FESSED UP that I hadn't a clue. The interviewers tried to help me out by suggesting I might have covered some things in my course. "OH yes!" I said. "Plato's ideas of theatre and 'Save The Cat'" What we ACTUALLY covered were SOCRATES' ideas of theatre and 'Save The DOG' but they were too polite to mention it.

Weeks passed and a couple of days ago I got an email to say I had been offered a place! HOORAH! I then got another very lovely email of congratulations from the Professor saying well done, even though I'd messed the methodology question up. HOORAH AGAIN!

The only slight fly in the research ointment is that I don't think I'm going to be able to start it this year. In September I'm going to have to start looking for an Actual Proper Job again (unless Holywood calls, OBVS, or Hey Hey 16K gets a TV deal) so will probably be a bit BUSY. Also, because it all happened so quickly, I missed all the chances to apply for funding, so deferring until 2016 would give me more chance at that. Also also if I start a PhD AND a job this year there won't be time for much writing.

All very sensible reasons to defer, which grapple daily with the compelling counter argument i.e. "A PhD in COMICS! Doctor Hibbett! WHOOOO! Come ON!!!" I'll have to see what happens but let the world know this: some day, somehow, DOCTOR HIBBETT will stalk this land!

posted 1/7/2015 by MJ Hibbett

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