Something New Every Day

My Dad has this thing he says.

It’s not a terribly original thing, and frankly I’m not sure where it came from—if it’s an ethos he developed on his own or one that my grandparents instilled in him, something from further up the family line or from a friend or what, but he tells me to learn something new every day.

Has told me all my life, still tells me to this day:

Learn something new every day.

It’s a nice way to live, to be reminded of one’s constant student-ness.

It’s something I’ve taken to heart, seeing as I turned 28 last week and have spent 23 of those years in school.

But I’m also at a place in my life where I have kind of a set expectation of the kinds of new things I learn.

I study language and literature, I write creatively, and I devour a very specific section of pop culture, ergo most of my library of new things can be traced back to these categories on some level. For example:

  • Bathetic, from bathos, means something along the lines of amusingly overwrought. Soap operas frequently display bathos or are bathetic.
  • Spanish language soap operas are called telenovelas.
  • A novella is typically classified as a work of fiction between 30,000 and 60,000 words.
  • Authors and academics use word counts rather than page numbers to gauge output because when you’re quoting poetry or writing dialogue, page numbers become deceptive.
  • Abbot and Costello’s “Who’s on First”, widely considered some of the best comedic dialogue ever performed, was first recorded for national radio in 1938, but is descended from the vaudevillian tradition of bathetic characterizations and tricky wordplay with names.

This is the type of thing I learn these days: language, literature, writing, pop culture, some combination therein.

Which is why it’s maybe a little surprising that about this time last year I started learning sound editing.

Not professionally, by any means, but enough to chop out some Um’s, trim a false start or three, layer in some theme music, and add in a credits clip.  

You know, enough for a podcast.

June 30, 2020 saw the first episode of PhD Pending, a podcast that was the brainchild of several of the women in my PhD program and finally officially launched by myself and two other brilliant ladies:

Left to right: Anne Mahler, yours truly, Éadaoin Regan

Together, Anne, Éadaoin, and I have talked about life as PhDs.

The nitty gritty bits like our imposter syndrome, moving away from home to study, teaching experiences, conference wine receptions (we love conference wine), our virtual classrooms, and a whole host of other stuff.

Sometimes it’s a little raw, sometimes we’re a little raunchy, or silly, or a little over enthusiastic about our research, but we’re always honest.

And learning to do all of that, to script, stage, and record a three-person interview, all while locked down in different houses and sometimes different countries, learning to edit those interviews into digestible episodes and add all of the flourishes like the intro and the outro music, learning how to interact with listeners, because of course there’s Instagram and Twitter and an email where you can reach out to us and people have been reaching out—

I never dreamed any of this would end up in my new things library.  

But it’s cool.

That someone like me, a complete novice, can still learn these things.

Not that I’m terribly good.

Arguably I was the weakest of the team, but Anne and Éadaoin are incredibly patient and getting to build something like PhD Pending was fun. Fun, and cooperative in a year when lockdown shrank my lonely little existence to the size of my bedroom.

Getting to be included in this, learning these new skills, and watching the PhD Pending community grow, has been an incredible honor.

And now, after a year, I’m leaving it.

Two of us have decided that our lives are moving in different directions and the third has a vision for our podcast’s future, which is it’s own, different kind of seriously cool

Together, the three of us built something strong enough to stand, and adapt, and grow in new and interesting directions. Directions that will, hopefully, keep helping other PhDs with their nitty gritty bits, like finances and dating and learning to take a second and breathe in the middle of all the research madness.

Because at the end of the day, that’s all we wanted to do with PhD Pending. Help ourselves, help others, maybe learn a little something along the way.

You know, something new every day.

Chase thunder lovelies,


PhD Pending Stats and Links:

4,100+ listens in over 70 countries. Our audience is mostly women in their mid-20s to mid-30s (funny how we, the hosts, fit that demo too) and we’re hosted on all major podcast platforms including Apple, Google, Spotify, and Stitcher.

Find us on Twitter and Instagram at @PhDPendingPod, listen on your preferred podcast app or here, get in touch at and support us financially here.

2 thoughts on “Something New Every Day

  1. Dear Jen, This is lovely to read, and I want to look up at least one version of PhD Pending to hear all the things you write about. And of course your dad’s facility with language and humor is a huge part of what he has passed to you, as well as that philosophy. I have broken my ankle and am taking the big-gun meds for Lyme, and learning so very much about people and myself as I go through this. Once you have the philosophy that learning is what life is about, you will never be completely bereft. I am so glad to receive this blog, Jen. I hope someday we will meet in person, but the podcast will get me closer. Jeannine


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh J9!
      I’m so sorry to hear about your ankle and lyme disease?! Those are both terrible on their own, to be dealing with them both at once must be miserable! You are in my prayers, friend.
      And thank you, for your reading and your kind words and for being a friend to my parents and through them to me. I do hope that we get to meet in person one day. If nothing else, I want to hear you tell stories live, instead of through a screen! Youtube streaming is nice, but someday I would like to sit in Cafe Lena properly! As for the podcast, I must warn you that our sound quality is rough on a good chunk of the first season, the second is where we really picked up our stride. Stay lovely, and thank you again!

      Liked by 1 person

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