Looking back to look ahead

Did you know that the PhD Life blog has 218 posts so far? Here are my personal favourites. Which post has inspired you the most?…

In order to do the best job I can as the new editor for the PhD Life blog, I had to become familiar with what’s been written to date so as to know where to go from here. In today’s post, I’ll share with you some of my favourite finds so that new readers can catch up just like me, and so old readers can be reminded of some of the jewels that this blog has given us.

  • Getting Your Thesis Published in which Georgina Collins provides an insightful guide on how to convert a thesis into a published book. That’s the dream, right?! No wonder it is one of the most-read posts at PhD Life.
  • I am currently working on submitting a paper for publication (it was accepted pending some revisions and it is due this Monday – aaah!). Reading 5 Tips on Getting your 1st Journal Paper Published was exactly what I needed to get me in the right headspace. Although this isn’t my first journal submission, for me it is still an arduous process. Thanks for being my own Jiminy Cricket, Salma Patel!
  • I still struggle with this one so it serves as my own personal reminder: Writing a Literature Review. I can’t help but follow the sub-paths that Charlotte Mathieson talks about. Learn from my mistakes and take on Charlotte’s advice stat.
  • This next one, also by Charlotte, goes hand-in-hand with the above. Once again, it is difficult for me to admit because I should have done this properly from the start (and even now): Keeping an annotated bibliography! I always use EndNote (and I know this is a contested topic) to keep track of all my references, but I really should be better at keeping detailed entries of all that I read (including those texts that are not relevant that I then find myself re-reading, ugh!). The only way I can foolishly justify it is this: when I am really working on a tight deadline, writing an annotated bibliography seems like a waste of time. As Cher would say: “If I could turn back time!”
  • One of the posts that resonated with me the most is U. Ejiro O. Onomake’s Living a Healthy PhD Life. I still struggle to find the balance between food/physical activity/mental breaks. I genuinely don’t like to cook, so I think food is probably the hardest one for me. I have never been a gym person (akin to Joelin Quigley-Bergl’s PhD Student Meets the Gym), but I have recently realised that if I don’t think of gym or exercise but actually of physical activity, this part comes way easier: I have recently joined the yoga bandwagon, but what genuinely helps me is dancing – even when I am just actively channelling my inner-Beyoncé in my living room. Turns out this also happens to be an incredible mental break! If only I had the courage to do this at the library from time to time, my mind would certainly thank me, but the people around me definitely wouldn’t…
  • Finally, I leave you with Ana Kedveš’ On Being Kind in Academia (which also happens to be my favourite featured image!). Just like Ana, I am aware of the challenges and hardships in Academia and I have had my share of a few less-than-kind moments. However, I have also been absolutely blessed in finding the most supportive and encouraging people: my supervisors, my fellow PhD students, young mentors who have recently become Drs themselves, experienced mentors at work who have taken me under their wings, and researchers I admire whom I have met at conferences or even simply over-email. These people have made a significant difference not only on my PhD journey but my life in general, and I intend to continue paying this kindness forward in my interactions with other colleagues and students now and in the future.

I really could have recommended more entries, but I had to limit myself. I would love finding out which PhD Life blog posts have caught your eye and made a difference, so please send me your suggestions. Until next time!

Sofia (@mextexausuk)


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