In 2015 I had a severe reaction to an antidepressant. Overnight I went from someone who had never experienced any physical anxiety symptoms to major panic attacks, agoraphobia, and constant general anxiety. I no longer had the capacity to do my PhD and took temporary withdrawal for a year where I had to learn how to function as a human being again. Upon returning to my PhD, a major achievement in itself, I realised the stress of even half an hour’s worth of work rendered me not only incapable of functioning for the rest of the day, but potentially the day after too. How was I supposed to do a PhD if I couldn’t even manage half an hour? If I was to complete my PhD, I needed to figure out how to work a stress-free day. Over the course of a couple of years I learnt and refined a routine that helped me to achieve this. It wasn’t much fun and I still struggle a lot of the time. I fall out of the routine and take shortcuts. I am human after all. But I sit here with a finished thesis and time to spare. This is how I did my PhD with a broken brain.
By Merle van den Akker
We have to stay at home. Indoors. All the time. And that’s hard. But it’s for keeping ourselves and others safe. So, it’s time to stop rebelling and acting like a 12-year-old, and to just make the best of a tough situation. So, what can you do from home?
If you have any tips on what to do when staying at home, tweet us at @ResearchEx, email us at email@example.com, or leave a comment below.
By Zakiyya Adam
Doing a PhD is demanding at the best of times, let alone amidst a global pandemic. Zakiyya discusses why productivity should not be the priority for PhDs right now.
What have you found to help you cope during the global pandemic? Tweet us at @ResearchEx, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment below.
By Alice Cuzzucoli
One of the most challenging aspects we face in academia is how to measure our self-worth. On top of the constant amount of work we deal with, this further burden can make us feel like we are misinterpreting what we have to do to be “that exceptional”. So, when it comes to comparing ourselves to others, it is natural to feel inferior, or inadequate even. Ultimately, our confidence is what suffers from it, both from an individual and a collective point of view. In the second part of her series of essays, Alice discusses how her relationship with self-worth and competition affected her confidence during her PhD.
How do you deal with feelings of worthlessness or inadequacy? Tweet us at @ResearchEx, email us at email@example.com, or leave a comment below.
Starting a PhD can be a disorienting experience. The sensation of uncertainty can be even worse, if, in just few months, you find yourself in the middle of a pandemic and your GPC is approaching. In this article, Giulia, 1st year PhD student in Philosophy, describes how the role of her research has changed during the first months of her doctoral experience.
Planting, harvesting and the stolen time of rest. Can farm life provide a metaphor for academic life? Is the current COVID-tunnel finally creating an occasion for rest and nourishment or did it leave many researchers in even more pressure to perform, in a new virtual world, having to pay the costly interests of time debt? Do you feel the need to find golden productivity before your peers? Our author reflects on the many challenges faced with planting and sowing, nourishing your land, a waiting for your crops to yield results, be it your plants or your ideas.
So, everyone is now in isolation, only going out for essential supplies and one government-mandated walk per day. It’s now even harder for PhD students to get away from their studies and relax. Giles Penman offers a possible solution to the seemingly unending loneliness.
One of the biggest benefits of a PhD is its flexibility. There are no set working hours. If you do not want to work 40 hours a week, don’t. If you prefer to have the Wednesday and the Saturday off rather than a regular weekend, do it. If you do not want to work one day, or one week, you do not have to. But unsurprisingly, this can backfire. Due to a lack of structure, what you need the most in a PhD is good time management!
Do you feel that COVID-19 is affecting your PhD life? Do you feel the need to adjust to the current crisis? If the answer to both questions is yes, then this blog post is for you.
Stuck at home trying to be productive? Missing the company of fellow researchers? Never fear! The Postgraduate Community Engagement Team and other services at the university have a wealth of options to keep you connected with your colleagues. Don’t be a stranger!
The PhD workload can weigh quite heavy at times. Zakiyya explores how taking breaks can actually increase productively, as well as improve well-being.
PhD students are all brain and no brawl. True? Not really. The life of a PhD student is more than just the university. Imagine then if you have to juggle the many challenges of the PhDLife with being a Muay Thai fighter. Nora Castle, PhD student in the department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, knows this reality very well. How does she do it? Read more to find out the exciting and very bruised daily life of an academic fighter.
It’s Friday night and you’re alone again… in your room, staring at the same words on the computer screen that you’ve seen for the past three years staring straight back at you. It doesn’t feel great, but you know you can’t escape this. Jenny Mak offers some quick hacks to hopefully make the isolating phases…
Do you have a mood swing during the winter season? Do you feel that the gloomy winter affects your PhD life? If the answer to both questions is yes, then this post is for you.
“Are there any other tricks you know which will reduce the amount of sleep I need each night, so I have more time during the day?” an old friend asks me. With only the slightest hint of a wry smile I respond: “That is not really how it works…”