Saturday, 23 June 2012

21st June 2012 - the day I lost my virginity .......

...... and it didn't hurt anywhere near as much as I had been anticipating! I'm assured too, that the more I do it - the more pleasurable it is. Now I appreciate that from a rather mature woman, this may seem slightly bemusing, but the fact is I've never had the right combination of self confidence, opportunity and material until now. The First Conference on Applied Qualitative Research in Psychology at the University of Derby proved an ideal occasion for me to pop my conference presentation cherry as it were.
The weeks leading up to the event found me riddled with doubts and nerves, and more worryingly - plagued by images of a recent Rocky Horror Picture Show event where Rocky Horror "virgins" were ceremoniously debased and humiliated! I lost count of the number of times I considered withdrawing ..... and this still seemed a good option for me even on the morning of the conference. Somehow, from somewhere not often previously encountered, I managed to find the resolve required.

I bucked my trend - and on arrival did, in fact, actually manage to make eye contact with someone and initiate a conversation. For those who know me, they will appreciate the enormity of this achievement. Thank you Kirsty - you did not appear to be aware of the hurdle that I had overcome, and I enjoyed hearing about your proposed PhD. My enjoyment continued throughout the morning, quelling the nerves and settling the butterflies a little, as I absorbed myself in the presentations. Some interesting and thought provoking research - the sort that you want to rush home and share with colleagues, well, with anyone who will listen really. And from my perspective, great application of methodology which has firmly re-fuelled my enthusiasm and sparked the grey matter to generate further research ideas.

As for my presentation - "Mad, Bad and Not My Problem: A Q Methodology Exploration of Teachers’ Negative Attitudes Towards Students with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties" (here)? It was "ok" - better than I had anticipated, with plenty of room for improvement - a "satisfactory" first attempt. For me, a relieved sense of "I did it!" - one to be ticked off the list.

A special thanks to Donna and Helen, who distracted me from my nervous physiological symptoms by engaging me in interesting dialogue about their research and experiences. It was great to meet you - and I hope our paths cross again.

My advice to friends and collegues who keep putting it off - go for it! It's never too late - and life is about new experiences. Grab an opportunity, take on a challenge - grow.


  1. Congrats Sue, the first of many more to come I'm sure! Love Jess x

    1. Thanks Jess ...... with practice my writing may become as good as yours!