Alternative acknowledgements

It’s been a bit of a hiatus for blogging, this summer, as I’ve had the small matter of a dissertation to write. I will resume now that it’s all over (freeeeeeeeeeeedom) because I have all the early summer conferences to tell you about!

I found that when writing my MA dissertation, the most satisfying section was the acknowledgements page. This is the version that was submitted…

I wish to thank the colleges and individuals who participated in this research, particularly for their generous gift of time:

  • Chichester College Group
    • Chichester College
    • Brinsbury College
    • Crawley College
    • Worthing College
  • Portsmouth College

I am grateful to Dr Briony Birdi, my supervisor, for her unwavering encouragement and sage guidance.

This study is dedicated to my wife, Helen McKenna-Aspell, whose belief in me looks on tempests and is never shaken (Shakespeare, Sonnet 116).

Quite professional, no? I was governed by my inner, nagging voice who reminded me that whatever I wrote would be there for ever. But, if I ignored that voice and wrote a less guarded (slightly swearier) version, it would go something like this…

I wish to thank the colleges and individuals who participated in this research, particularly for their generous gift of time:

  • Chichester College Group
    • Chichester College
    • Brinsbury College
    • Crawley College
    • Worthing College
  • Portsmouth College

I’m proper proud to work for Chichester College Group and having the opportunity to speak to so many people has been a privilege. I can’t believe you all took the time and energy to support me with this when you’re so busy running the world. I’m your biggest fan. Also, we have so many rock-star female leaders who are brilliant role models for their staff and students.

I am grateful to Dr Briony Birdi, my supervisor, for her unwavering encouragement and sage guidance. Other people look up to and idolise celebrities; I’m lucky to have someone appear in my life who has inspired me to be and do better. In a non-stalker fashion, I am in awe of her and want to be like her when I finally grow up.

This study is dedicated to my wife, Helen McKenna-Aspell, whose belief in me looks on tempests and is never shaken (Shakespeare, Sonnet 116). The absolute shitshow she’s put up with for two years would have broken a weaker person. I’ve never understood why she chose me but I’m grateful, every day, that she did.

This research would not have translated from my brain to the page without the loyalty of Nespresso. There’s no one else I’d rather work with at 3 o’clock in the morning. Equally, without the support of the supervisor at Dunelm I would not have completed the MA. He made sure I was able to replace the study chair, which broke at the least convenient time, with immediate effect. He even loaded it into my car. Michael, my chiropractor, has been steadfast in his dedication to my back. There were days when I felt like I’d climbed a mountain, fought several bears, felled a tree and carried it home – and all I’d actually done was sit at the table for 19 hours straight. The man is a wizard. I must thank Laura and Rose, my Chichester College library compadres, for making me belly-laugh this summer – I mean, we also did some work but the laughter was the medicine I didn’t even know I needed. The estates team at Brinsbury College allowed me to break in on Saturdays so that I could work on a real computer in the peace and quiet. This has been a running theme – nobody said no to me! The yeses stacked up and made life just that little easier.

Some specific thanks…

  • Alessio Pruneddu: the person behind the Q-sorTouch system I used. Generous with his time and patient of my idiosyncrasies.
  • Savannah Kelly and Brian Young: their research into perceptions of library services inspired my whole study project and, when I reached out to them via email, they were incredibly helpful and gave much advice (Journal of Academic Librarianship, 44(2), 2018).
  • Virginia Braun and Victoria Clarke: the duo behind so much comprehensive and innovative material about thematic analysis, including several videos I’ve watched on repeat. Again, very generous with their time and guidance when asked via Twitter.
  • Sue Reed: Horticulture Demi-God at Brinsbury and my MA partner in crime for the year. It’s been so cathartic to have someone at work to chat to – a mutual cheerleading of sorts.

In fact, I am grateful for the people who live in my phone. I’ve reached out, often despairingly, on Twitter and I’ve been given advice about software, Q-methodology, statistics, thematic analysis, dissertation dos and don’ts. And that was just for the dissertation, never mind the MA assignments.

To all the coffee shops, the big chains, the independent cafés… my unending gratitude for offering a different location so that I didn’t succumb to the cabin fever. Some days the only highlight was escaping to Tesco for a Harris and Hoole caramel latte. Boston Tea Party will hold a special place in my heart for feeding me no less than 3 times in the week running up to submission – fabulous coffee and damn good cake.

Maggie, my English Springer Spaniel, who gave me cuddles and kept me company through the long nights… but definitely not her brother, Stripy. The cat that shat everywhere, on repeat, at the least convenient times. He’s old and we love him etc. etc. but I am not thankful for that contribution to my days and nights.

Merci, universe, for sending a pretty lame summer. Had the weather been glorious, it would have been so much harder to be stuck indoors. You can send the summer now; I’ve got time to enjoy it in September.

To my patient friends and family – thank you for letting me be AWOL without guilt. I can’t wait to spend September catching up with you, your spouses, your kids and your pets (not necessarily in that order).

And finally to the Badass Bibliophiles. The group of fellow distance learners who have become friends, agony aunts, therapists, proof-readers, comedians and around-the-clock supporters. You’re the best.

I can’t believe it’s all over. Now, just the brutally long wait to see how I’ve done.

2 thoughts on “Alternative acknowledgements

  1. Wow Jo – I had started to watch the tv programme about Putin then I noticed you had posted on here. I’ve only just finished reading your blog. My lovely granddaughter – you are AMAZING. I’m so, so proud of you. Onwards and upwards my darling.,🥰

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