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During the time I’ve spent sick in bed recently with pneumonia I’ve done a lot of thinking. Two topics in particular became recurring themes. First, I’ve become reinspired to blog on history that I’m either learning at uni or researching for myself. When I first started loading up my half-dozen blogs in May I still felt I had quite a lot of personal stuff to get off my chest and there will always be things to say regarding my health as it affects every aspect of my life and has brought me some very dark times in my life, events that have made me dig deep and discover inner strength I wasn’t aware I had. Those times have been very powerful for me, have greatly shaped who I am today. However I’m also trying to move on with my life, no matter how often it feels like 2 steps forward, 1 step back, at least I’m aware of some progress albeit slower than I’d like. So very soon I’ll start to focus about two-thirds of my blogs on history and related university topics and about 1/3 will be more personal blogs. So those of you who prefer my personal blogs I do apologise as there will be fewer of them. I still want to document that aspect of my life and see how the Pancytopenia affects my ability to do my study and take care of my family. Hopefully my history blogs will be informative and interesting. One of the reasons I want to do this is to document my journey of learning and the other is to bring really interesting stories and information from the past and make it accessible to anyone who wants to read it. Hopefully it may encourage a few people to go and read some history themselves. It troubles me that so few people seem to be truly interested in history beyond say World War I & II. So much of our western society today stems from events of the past 500 years or so and I want to encourage more people to take an interest.

The second topic that has plagued my thoughts involves my long-term future. While sick in bed I read a lot of blogs and comments from academics & PhD candidates about the negative side of pursuing a PhD and an academic career. I already knew this would be a tough road to go down but this is what I want to do – feels like what I imagine it would be to have a vocation. If I’m serious about the period of European history that I’m interested in then I probably need to aim to do my PhD with a well-respected historian in North America or Europe once I finished in Masters of Research – I won’t be finished that until the end of 2017 at the earliest and that will involve moving my husband and children to another country. My hubby hopes his career will be at a more flexible stage by then that will allow him to do this, but until then who knows? My son will be nearing high school age and my daughter will be about year 3 age – no doubt I’d be dragging them away from all their friends and a life they knew (but what an adventure it could be!). More importantly I’m worried about the state of my parents and parents-in-law health by then. My mother has had Parkinson’s for over 6 years now and I imagine in another five or six years she will be even less mobile than she is now. I worry about moving away from both sets of parents because I know they won’t want us to go but if I leave it too long I may be stuffing up my son’s schooling. Even if I finish a PhD there’s not much chance for stable academic work here in Australia. There will be casual work at various universities but how long can I keep moving my family around until I get my career established – they need some stability. After all that – what if I turn out to be a crap teacher or a hopeless historian? To spend all those years studying and then for a real possibility of it turning into nothing! I can’t imagine how that would feel.

The reason this is bothering me now is that I’ve toyed with the idea of maybe completing my Masters and then trying to pursue journalism. Now I don’t hold the media these days in high regard so it’s not my burning desire to become a journalist but I do have an interest in it (probably as a freelancer) and if I decide this would be a better career path for me with possibly real job opportunities then I should be ditching my Italian studies now and switching to political subjects at uni (this is on top of the history subjects I’m currently pursuing). Oh what to do! I don’t know any journalists or anyone in that industry but I think I need someone to give me a reality check about it. Maybe I’ve fallen into the trap of ‘the grass is greener over there’.

Any thoughts anyone? Or do any of you know of someone I could talk to about journalism? I’d appreciate any help I can get!

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