Tomorrow September begins. I love the Autumn – it’s my absolute favourite time of year. Not least because I get to go back to school! (NERD). The summer has been intense, and I have really enjoyed writing this blog, as well as pursuing research on topics that I wouldn’t usually have time for. Many of you will already know, but I am due to start work on my PhD this September. There have been some developments over the summer which have altered the time frame slightly, and due to the fact that I will soon so busy that I’ll be lucky if I remember to feed myself, this will be my last blog post for a while. I’ve blogged before and it’s so easy to let a blog just fizzle out – I have not lost interest, and there’s certainly no fizzling – just a giant impending lack of time.
Part of a historian’s job is to keep stories alive. One of the things I love most about the idea of being a historian is that I get to do that. I get the honour of being able to tell people about the bravery and wisdom of others, and to keep the names and stories of these marvellous people from being forgotten. This blog has been an attempt to do just that. I have enjoyed writing about the ladies who inspire me most, and I’ve been wonderfully encouraged by the amount of feedback and discussion this has generated with readers from all over the world.
I wanted to say thank you to everyone who reads this blog, and for all the encouraging emails, texts and conversations that have come from it. Many people aren’t interested in history, and those of us who are passionate about it find that frustrating and discouraging. There are certainly days when I feel like I’m running head first at a brick wall, and I feel disappointed and discouraged at how unimportant people can deem my subject and chosen career. I have actually had people ask me when I’m going to ‘get a real job’ and ‘pack in being a student’. I’ve also had people imply that there’s absolutely no point in my chosen career plans and that I can’t possibly be of any use to the world if all I do is sit in an office by myself, read books, work with dusty old files and write things nobody will ever want to read. I don’t believe that any of this is true, but there are definitely days when discouragement wins. It is for this reason that I am so grateful for the people who take the time to read my blog, and for the encouraging words and enthusiastic observations made by them. So thank you – you’ve made a historian happy today!
For those of you who don’t know, my PhD will focus on women in combat during World War II. The research is much more focused than that, but with it being in the early stages it would be unwise to plaster the details all over the internet. If you’d like to know more, do message me. I secured the funding this summer, and will be spending long hours in archives and libraries in London, Washington D.C., Alabama, possibly Moscow and who knows where else. The first year is very much London based, so that will be fun. I’m living my dream – I’ve got funding which pays for me to research and write about my favourite people and their adventures for the next few years. Yes, I am a 26 year old student. And I’m very happy that way. As always, I couldn’t do any of it without the constant support and encouragement of my wonderful best friend and husband, Isaac. He and our little ginger cat-child hug me through my tough days and keep me going. I’m eternally grateful for them. My family have also been wonderful – my mum is a constant source of inspiration and tells me often how important a historian’s work is, and is always buying me books I didn’t know had even come out yet. She’s literally better than a research assistant. My dad has been great too – I work at his company and I’ve been so grateful for the constant flexibility at work which allows me to continue being a student.
I will miss blogging, but hopefully I’ll be able to do the odd post here and there about how things are going. Again, thank you for reading – and I wish you all well!
I will leave you with a little bit of wisdom from A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, which I have on my pin board in the kitchen. Every day when I wash the dishes I am reminded of this simple truth.