I am sitting on a train on my way to London for my final meeting as BSG PG Forum chair. It, therefore, seemed to be the perfect time to reflect on my year as chair and my time as part of the BSG committees. I have learnt a lot during my time in the forum; that it is worth taking on these extra roles even if you feel like you’re too busy; that the west coast of Wales is too remote to consistently make meetings (we just have too much weather affecting our trainlines!), and that there are some brilliant postgraduate researchers out there doing amazing geomorphology!
I agreed to the role in March 2014, when the end of my PhD seemed very far away, and taking on the chair role, after my initial one year stint as deputy chair, was something that would happen a long way in the future. As with everything, though, the time disappeared and now I am sat contemplating what I have and haven’t achieved. Being part of the BSG has been a great opportunity: I have chatted to a lot of academics I wouldn’t have met without this role; I have coordinated a wonderful group of postgraduate to produce some great blog posts; I have been frustrated at the lack of people who we’ve reached with our great newsletter; and I’ve realised you always have time to squeeze in things, even if you don’t think you have any time left. I have loved getting to know the ins and outs of the BSG and of reconnecting with geomorphology at the annual conference. I have found the lack of time I have been able to devote to the role, both in my short time as chair and on a day-to-day basis, frustrating. I had grand plans to make postgrads a greater part of the BSG, not just in numbers (where we are an overriding majority), but also development of the society. I quickly realised I had to scale back my plans and use my best asset, my organisation skills, to streamline the forum and make sure the little time we had to offer as a group was used wisely. This led to monthly blog posts, more emphasis on social media and less on producing brilliant, but little read, newsletters.
My regret for my time as chair is that I didn’t get the forum better known by the society’s postgrad members. I hope I have developed the forum enough that Danielle, the new chair, can build on what I have done and really get all BSG PG members involved. This is where you lot come in – there are loads of you out there, and we want to be there for you, but we need to know how you want to connect with us. To do that we need to decide what we can offer you, and the best way to get in contact with you. The forum is doing a brilliant job of representing you in all the BSG’s committees, and maybe that’s enough, but we don’t think it is! Some of our ideas are a PG conference, PG fieldtrips and getting our instagram account full of amazing geomorphology photos. But before we put the effort in to these we need to know what people think. We are always looking for new postgraduate forum members as well, so if you wan to do something career-enhancing and interesting, then get in touch on Twitter.
Being postgraduate forum chair may not have been a huge role, but it has been important to me. I have seen how many passionate geomorphologists are out there, and how much they want to share their science. The BSG has got a lot of things right, one of the big ones being the support they provide to postgraduates with their grants. I’m leaving my role feeling sad I am no longer a part of the society’s organisation, but sure I will be back in the future!
God luck Danielle.
Over and out…
(PhD at Aberystwyth University)