This week Thursday it’ll have been exactly a year since I first visited Leeds, and it’s currently 355 days since I moved to Leeds.
So let’s evaluate my Leeds experience over the past year.
When I first came to Leeds, I was determined to like it. Yet, I was plagued by numerous what-ifs; what if I don’t find a nice place to live? I did, and next academic year will be living in Devonshire Hall as a subwarden, so I am still living in nice places. What if I don’t like the city? My standard answer to ‘how do you find Leeds?’ is ‘I love Leeds’, so there’s that. What if I don’t like the Uni? I love the Uni, so.
Regardless of the power of confirmation bias, I don’t think I could have deceived myself for a year, and continue to deceive myself, if I’d found the city and the Uni unbearable.
I still like Leeds rail station.
I still like the Art Gallery; so much so, even, that I’ve made it the setting of a rather key scene in my murder mystery novel.
I still like my PhD colleagues, and want to call them my friends.
I have since upgraded/transferred from Provisional PhD to Full PhD status.
My research is going in the direction I want it to go. I have read so much about linguistics and power and ideology and politics and there’s still so much more and I still love it. I still love doing it.
I’ve received a substantial scholarship to continue my studies.
I’ve taken up writing a blog as part of a multimedia-project (I’m currently on the IMDb, which has me more excited than I should be).
I’ll present a paper on Doctor Who at a symposium in 10 days.
I have taken to Headingley, Leeds and Yorkshire like – well, like a moth to a flame, but without the burning bit. I’ve cycled to Ilkley and loved it, I’ve been to the Moors and loved it, I’ve been to Bradford and loved it, I’ve been to the cricket (without understanding any of it) and loved it (I still don’t understand it). I’ve taken to sampling Yorkshire ales, and love most of them. I’ve even taken to unconsciously adopting some of the Leeds accent (which led to hilarity among my Huddersfield colleagues when they asked me how I found Leeds). I love the Yorkshire people.
No year can be without its downsides, and I’ve had moments where I felt lonely, and where I didn’t have a clue what I was doing; where I felt like a fraud, and like I wasn’t doing anything significant. Moments where I felt absolutely intimidated by the task before me, and hopeless about my post-PhD future.
But on the whole, it has been a remarkable year. It has been a fantastic year.
Here’s hoping Year Two will be equally fabulous.