One of the unexpected challenges I have faced during my first year post-phd in academia is knowing how to form my own academic identity. After spending five years (honours included) learning from my primary supervisor, collaborating with my supervisory team, and being introduced to the area of conservation psychology through these mentors, it has been tricky to now stand on my two feet. On my own two feet, while still being in the conservation psychology crowd, which is a reasonably small crowd of researchers. Perhaps that is why I find it tricky to find my place, because although the crowd is small, it is well dispersed and I don’t want to step on anyone else’s toes. Especially the toes of the people that I admire and respect so much. As with many topics I write about on this blog lately, I don’t have an answer to this challenge yet. I am currently in the midst of it. What I am doing though, is trying to diversify my collaborations (while continuing to research with the team I work so closely with and still have SO much to learn from), I am trying to find my niche with the conservation psychology area- currently this seems to be looking at the media/technology influences within this space, and also throwing a broader research net, starting to research in other social media areas and also in PhD student wellbeing.
I am also continuously reminding myself that I am only one year into this, I don’t need to have this all figured out yet.