My bucket-list PhD

September 1978: I went up to Brasenose College Oxford to begin a DPhil in Economics with some trepidation and a research council bursary, having survived an interview with Joe Stiglitz, who was later to win a Nobel Prize. I was 23. My Mum had died at the age of 42 not long before. It...

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Volunteering and the Skills Matrix

Volunteering with a local organisation can reap great rewards. Whilst research and writing up take up the lion’s share of undertaking a PhD, there is the Skills Matrix that also has to be completed, especially when working towards the progression panel meeting. Often referred to as ‘The Wheel of Fortune’, the Skills Matrix has...

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LSU Shakespeare Society

There may be budding thespians among you who are looking for an opportunity to ‘tread the boards’. PhDs are hard work and often isolating, so joining a society could be conducive to finding a distracting relaxation. The LSU Shakespeare Society may be the answer, whether an actor or a beholder, it promises exceptional productions....

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Face to Faith

Looking back, our blog posts have reflected on problems faced whilst researching and writing up a PhD and many helpful suggestions have been explored, especially in times of crisis and uncertainty. There have been some useful links to where help can be found and there are more on our home page under Links/Support Services....

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The Viva, and After

I successfully defended my PhD viva back in March 2017. I was only in there for 50 minutes, which felt like 3 hours! “Enjoy it,” I was told by friends and fellow peers, “it will be the only time you will get to talk to people who are genuinely interested in your research.” To...

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Recognising when help is needed.

It’s something that we, as PhD students, don’t do often enough – seek help, and knowing when to seek help is important as well. I think sometimes it’s the perception that we may be seen as weak by others if we do seek help, especially in a competitive academic environment where mental illness is...

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The Importance of Relaxation

This blog post is probably one of the most important I have written because speaking from experience, PhD students always struggle to switch off and relax. But in actual fact, it’s as important as writing the thesis. One of the first ways I help my mind, as well as my body, is through a...

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Finding a balance

There is life, which exists beyond a PhD; believe it or not and despite me saying that my PhD has taken over my life, there still should be some space to enjoy oneself. Striking the balance between work and life is tough and it doesn’t just affect us PhD students but coupled with the...

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External Pressure

External pressure is a difficult issue to overcome particularly if you have parents, a partner or friends who have no experience with further postgraduate research. It appears to make the process a whole lot harder – not just managing your workload but also constant questioning about “when are you going to get a real...

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