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.
If you run, you are a runner. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far. It doesn’t matter if today is your first day or if you’ve been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get in. You just run” This quote is by John Bingham, nicknamed ‘The Penguin’, for coming in at the back of the pack - … [Read more...] about Keep on running: what inspires PhD students to become runners?
We’re delighted to hear from a researcher who has wrestled with the post-phd limbo and come out the other side with an alt-ac career. Dr Rob Edwards has found a career that makes the most of the knowledge and skills he honed on his PhD – and builds new ones. Read on to find out how he found his alternative career path. In the beginning… I started my PhD … [Read more...] about My Alternative Academic (Alt-ac) Career – Guest blogger, Dr Rob Edwards
The other week, I spotted a tweet, which inspired me to write this blogpost on procrastination: It is a story that is very familiar to me: I, too, fight my tendency to set large, difficult tasks to one side whilst I get on with other stuff that is definitely lower priority. What gets me over such tendencies, is inspiration. And I often find my … [Read more...] about Are you procrastinating? Or opening yourself to inspiration…
Academic articles can be inspired from some very non-academic places and sometimes inspiration can come from the strangest things... A little while ago, I wrote an academic paper examining the ways in which life and death could be interpreted in the two versions of Sylvia Plath’s Ariel. Last year, it was published. While I have long loved Sylvia … [Read more...] about Academic articles and non-academic inspiration
Researchers in popular culture have not only kicked arse and saved the world but have also worn brilliant cardigans Inspired by the 20th anniversary of the cultural touchstone that is Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and trust that the author says this in all seriousness), this post is dedicated to celebrate the awesomeness of research - and the awesomeness of … [Read more...] about A Critical Ka-Pow – Researchers in popular culture
Minimalism can be a strange beast. Right now, my life’s possessions consist of: 1. one small tortoiseshell cat; 2. one (admittedly squished) wardrobe’s worth of clothes; 3. four blankets; and, 4. eight boxes that I can pick up, mostly filled with books, art, and all my cake tins. You know – the vital things to life. I used … [Read more...] about The Academic Art of Minimalism
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!)
How do we make the 'right' career decisions in academia, and build our overall academic identity? I received an email from a colleague and this quote got me thinking: "all [ECRs she once worked with] would have benefitted from... support which provided them with sense of independence and value of self; knowing what rules were in place constraining choices; … [Read more...] about Your alternative academic identity: learning the rules?
Last week, I wrote about two positive types of busy, but this week I am reflecting on the kind of "busy" that can really lead to problems. How do you know that you or a colleague or friend are experiencing the wrong kind of busy? Slogging busy Sometimes hardly distinguishable from the standard busy days, except perhaps by your level of motivation! It feels … [Read more...] about ‘I’m busy’ part 2: it’s a problem
Who do you need? It is not always easy to get by in the academic world, especially when you are just starting out. I’m not one to normally question Simon and Garfunkel but, in truth, no one can be an island for the long-term. At some point, all of us need somebody, if not to love, then to work with – which I’m sure is also badly paraphrasing another classic … [Read more...] about Finding Your People: Mentors, Collaborators, and Guardian Angels
Following on from Kathy's recent post on why you might have to be brave to say 'no' sometimes, I want to reflect a bit on busy-ness and how it can help if it's a good kind of busy, or if it isn't, then it leads us into needing to say 'no'. I am nearly always busy, and of course it's the standard answer these days when you ask someone how they are. They … [Read more...] about ‘I’m busy’ part 1: good kinds of busy
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
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