Recently I've been following the narrative about working hours in academia. What we talked about on the piirus.ac.uk blog, and what you told us in the poll. What the brilliant Raul Pacheco-Vega says about over-work and how to work productively instead. How a real discussion is opening up about the realities of academic life, where long hours are necessary … [Read more...] about How I found out, how NOT to be an academic
Let’s talk about mental health in academia. I know we sometimes don’t like to talk about it much. We’d rather talk about anything else than talk about mental health - but we need to talk. Recently, a study by Lavecque and colleagues showed that: One in two PhD students experiences psychological distress; one in three is at risk of a common psychiatric … [Read more...] about Mental Health in Academia: Lets talk about it.
Some academics do seem to be wedded to their research, but let’s leave the marriage metaphors aside. This post is all about choosing which academic work commitments you say ‘yes’ to. At the beginning of this year, I wrote a post on why it was important to be able to say ‘No’. It is a way to create some kind of balance, a way to … [Read more...] about Before you say Yes: 3 questions to ask yourself (And I’m not talking about marriage!)
Continuing the theme of consideration, self-care, and work-life balance, I would like to share with you my experience of #PhDlife overload which I encountered last term. As a PhD student with high ambitions and an equally high mortgage payment, I have tendency to say 'yes' to most things and up until now it has served me well. By saying 'yes' and having … [Read more...] about What I learned when I took on too much: I am not a PhD superhero
As we begin 2017, perhaps some of you will have taken a seasonal break from your work. Or perhaps you worked right through: it can be hard to take time out from research and academic life. Some of you might be making New Year's resolutions and perhaps one of them might be to think of your work-life balance. With this in mind, our blog is taking a look at … [Read more...] about Saying No: Why it’s important to be brave
This year, my third PhD student will graduate and – to happy-dance quite a bit – will receive the Chancellor’s Medal as well. Each graduation has been so exciting. My three PhD students are extraordinary and being part of their projects, helping in whatever way I could, has been an incredible experience over the last few years. It’s been all the more … [Read more...] about Being a supervisor – 3 things I’ve learnt
Working in academia can be a tricky thing. As much as the work can be inspiring, creative, and life-changing, it can also be isolating, uncertain, and insecure. In fact, Piirus has just published a post by the wonderful Ryan on the perils of isolation within academia. Ryan argued “very few people would liken graduate school to a leisurely jaunt”. And for … [Read more...] about Staying in academia: 3 things I find helpful at challenging times
As regular readers may know, I have been taking part in the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Thesis Whisperer of the ANU in Canberra, Australia*, (and her able colleagues who were course moderators) all about how to survive your PhD. I wanted to share my reflections at the end of the course, because this is the first MOOC I've ever studied for. I … [Read more...] about MOOC module “How to Survive your PhD” : my reflections at the end
I've been taking part in the How to Survive your PhD MOOC which is now in its final stages: We are now all peer marking each others' assignments. The course is full of great learning materials for students and supervisors, and people like myself who support researchers, and I've learnt a lot. During this MOOC, I was tasked to create instructions for … [Read more...] about How to write instructions for others in 9 steps
The last four weeks of my life have been rather hectic, so I’m giving you a whistle-stop tour of the last four themes from the “How to Survive your PhD” MOOC (#survivephd15 on Twitter), which ran across ten weeks and which I’ve periodically reported on here. The latest themes were: curiosity, confusion, boredom and love. I’ll start with a confession: the … [Read more...] about Four weeks and a deadline: curiosity, confusion, boredom and love in #survivephd15
Harriet Frew shares some common insecurities in research and some approaches to them. Harriet is a specialist counsellor offering transformation programmes to support women to feel great about food, eating and their body image. She is also a contributor to local BBC Radio, offering her experience and counselling expertise in this area. You can learn more … [Read more...] about Self-doubt, perfectionism and common insecurities during research work
I'm charting my progress through the "How to Survive your PhD" course, which is a "MOOC". I seem to always miss the live chat. Last week (loneliness) I was away but this week (on the topic of fear!) I was technically available. By the time I tore myself away from something I was deeply engrossed in, I watched half an hour of the live chat, but I still failed … [Read more...] about Fear and curiosity during your doctorate: weeks 6 & 7 of How to Survive your PhD.
Even if you’re not taking part in this course, you can get a flavour of what it offers by watching the livechats on YouTube, and you can follow discussion on Twitter with the #survivephd15 hashtag or on Storifies like the one on Frustration. Here are my reflections on another two weeks of taking part in this truly massive MOOC! Frustration with writing The … [Read more...] about Academic writing, Frustration and Loneliness: weeks 4 and 5 of How to survive your PhD
I'm writing about participating in the Thesis Whisperer's Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), called "How to Survive Your PhD". I wrote about getting started last week, when I couldn't see how to document my progress through the course: I'm pleased to say that I have found it under the tab labelled "Progress". Here, I found a link called "Wrap Up" which also … [Read more...] about “How to survive your PhD” weeks 2 & 3: growing in confidence
What's a MOOC? - A "Massive Open Online Course", and I'm taking part in one called "How to Survive Your PhD" from the Thesis Whisperer: it's free and registration is open, so get in quickly! THE BASICS This looks like a really interesting course for anyone who supports researchers in their work. I don't have much time (this is advertised as a light … [Read more...] about Taking part in a MOOC “How to Survive Your PhD” : Getting started.