From what I’ve gathered so far about life in the academic world, the aim of the game – let’s be honest – is to get published, as many times as you darn well can. To publish your little heart out… oh, and to make sure, I guess, within reason, that what you publish is sound evidence, keep neutral and keep the policy makers happy (there shouldn’t be an ‘and’ between those phrases, right?) and, ya know, advance the cause of humanity and all…yada yada…
So, to that end, I thought I may as well skip all the exams, assignments, the blithe textbook reading and the rest…and just GET PUBLISHED! As of International Woman’s Day last weekend, myself and a couple dozen other women around the world officially became authors as ‘Chasing Misery: An Anthology of Essays by Women in Humanitarian Responses’ hit the proverbial ‘shelves’ on Kindle, Amazon and other online literary outlets and spammed itself all over Facebook and Twitter (@chasing_misery).
*Loud Big Brother-style voice from out of nowhere*: “Lucy…getting published in a book is not the same as getting published in academia. Get your head back in the books…exams are not far off!”
Huh, what?! No! *Trudges, deflated, back to the backlog of Collaborate sessions that she missed*
While there is an essay in there that I happened to write, there’s also a ton of other essays by women from all across the globe, with all sorts of hilarious and heart-wrenching insights into the experience of being part of humanitarian responses. Not exactly akin to a randomized control trial, perhaps closer to something of an anthropological narrative after a glass of wine or two…but, I believe, well worth the read.
I’ll shut up and let the blurb speak for itself:
“What motivates any of us to do the work we do? And more importantly does that work make a difference?” This is the question film producer and founder of filmaid.org, Caroline Baron, reflects on when she calls Chasing Misery an “unblinking” account of what it’s like to be a woman on the front lines of global humanitarian responses. Twenty-one first person essays and 23 stunning photographs give readers a glimpse into the lives of real women who respond to emergencies—their hopes, fears, questions, challenges, frustrations as well as glimpses of the humour, beauty, and hope they find in the midst of misery.
So, here’s an idea. Buy the book – via one of the links above – and make it a ‘reward’ after each chapter/exercise/mock exam/review/webinar you get through this week. Go on – it’s a win-win – you motivate yourself to get through the studies, and a good portion of the proceeds will go to the Headington Institute that helps humanitarian response by helping build the wellbeing of aid workers themselves. If you really like it, be a gem and leave a review on Amazon! Or if you really don’t…leave it review there too, but constructive criticism is more appreciated. :)
Lucy is studying the MSc Public Health by distance learning in Bangkok, Thailand. She is originally from New Zealand.