It was at the Fifth Fuse Physical Activity Workshop in Durham a couple of months ago that Istvan Soos, a Reader in Sport and Exercise Sciences from the University of Sunderland introduced me to the term ‘Pracademic’. I had been trying to explain to a delegate what my role was and who I worked for, when Isvtan shouted across the room, "Natalie, you are a Pracademic!" I actually can’t believe it has taken me five years of being a PhD student before finally hearing this term. Cue frantic Googling of the term as soon as I got home, to find a plethora of information on the phrase, which even boasts an entry on the Urban Dictionary website from 2007. I am clearly way behind the times. But maybe it’s because I'm spending so much of my time delivering a PhD intervention that includes scrambling around outdoors in the dirt trying to get rid of some pesky weeds, or building a raised bed in the freezing cold, that the phrase hadn't had time to register.
So I wanted to give you a taste of what it is like to be someone who is still involved in working as a practitioner, as well as studying for a PhD, which qualifies me as a Pracademic.
- Always looking like I've been dragged through a bush backwards;
- My blood must taste delicious as I am forever being bitten by ravenous midges;
- Rogue tomatoes that I find in the car boot two months after being picked;
- If I were stopped by the police, my boot containing spades, shovels, rope, duct tape and bin liners would look a little suspicious. Although the rogue tomatoes might actually help me explain myself here.
It has been a demanding journey so far as a Pracademic, filled with many ups and downs, many moments of self-doubt, and countless barriers that I've had to dig deep (got to get one pun in!) to overcome. But I’ll take rogue tomatoes in the boot of my car any day.
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