I have a passion for supporting fellow PhD students through their journey and have campaigned quite vociferously at my institution and at national PGR conferences on the importance of what I call “non-academic” support. This encompasses those issues which are often forgotten about at institutions, such as mental illness, working from home, being a mature student, isolation, loneliness and any other obstacles outside of actually doing the PhD.
This blog series is the culmination of some of these non-academic situations that are commonplace when doing a PhD and I feel must be talked about. I want to demonstrate that these topics shouldn’t be off limits and to assure PhD students that they shouldn’t feel alone – support is out there.
Unfortunately, the non-completion rate (I prefer this term rather than “drop out”) is so high for PhD students because of the stumbling blocks they may face. I hope that by talking about them, I can ease feelings of frustration or doubt in some way.
Over the next six weeks I am going to write six condensed blog posts. These are going to cover the following issues: “imposter syndrome;” pressure from family/friends/partner; finding a balance; the importance of relaxation; recognising when help is needed and “the viva and after.”