All in a week – PhD year one!
This post is on my typical week at the university as a PhD student. Now that I am a few months into the PhD and have some sort of a routine, I thought I’d share with you what it is that I do all week on the PhD. I’ve actually had fun writing this one as in comparison is very different to the one I wrote during my masters.
So, it is expected that full-time PhD students or Postgraduate Researchers PGRs as the university calls us, are working on their research by default if they are not doing anything else. Unfortunately for me, since PhD work does not come with deadlines that run with the university term timetables, my typical week is dependent on the other things I do along with my PhD that runs by it.
I am a full-time PhD student who lives in Guildford and on campus. I cannot work at home or my room, so I go into my office every day of the week – Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. Well, given how much of a morning person I am, I tend to do a 10am to 6:30pm most days. I’ve heard the best way to balance a PhD and well, life, is to treat it like a regular job and that I do. I rarely take my work back home. I carry one file that contains PhD work that I’m currently working on in case I decide or need to work from home the following day.
There are a lot of opportunities to do things other than your PhD at the university. This is great because if I did only my PhD for 365×3 days cause that’s how long my funding lasts, I will probably hate housing, psychology, design and all to do with it. And in the first year, as it takes a bit of time to get started with the PhD, it is quite easy to take on too much, which I might have. But, in the second term now I’m only doing things that I think and I know can handle alongside my PhD. And I’m so good at organising all of these activities that I make sure I fit a bit of everything I love doing in my typical week.
My Mondays are relaxed thankfully. This is usually when I may have meetings with my supervisor(s) or a CPD session or tutorial group under Graduate Certificate for Teaching and Learning (Grad Cert as we call it to see if I can do something with my teaching skills if I end up in Academia). I believe I can be a good teacher, let’s hope I am right. As of now, by Monday afternoons I am back home for some me-time.
My Tuesdays and Thursdays are usually free other than when I am doing Graduate teaching assistant (GTA) role/job for a couple of undergrad and masters modules. It usually takes about 4 to 6 hours every week and a few more when I’m marking. These days are when I usually do most work on my PhD – such as reading, writing, designing my studies, crying to my office-mates about all the time I wasted doing pretend-work (Sigh!) and so on.
Wednesday. I did not want to do too much during my masters as psychology was new to me and challenging. So, I saved the GGA Sustainability course for PhD. On Wednesdays, I am attending sustainability lectures in the afternoon. I enjoy it but is also slightly frustrating having to write essays on deadlines for it because I no longer do that otherwise as a PhD. Ideally, I would like to do GGA languages, continue my French perhaps, but I needed this sustainability stamp to go on my CV asap in case I decided to work in the industry part-time.
Thursdays are weirdly LONG for me. Not only because I have lots to do, the things I do stretch over long periods of time. My day starts at 9/10 am and ends at 11pm. On Thursdays there is more GTA work, PhD stuff, Thursday market to buy fresh fruits and vegetables from and sometimes even eat at the stalls at the market, go back home to drop them off and come back to some more PhD work, ending the day with an archery training between 7:30 and 10:30 pm.
My Fridays are back to being relaxed, a little more of GTA work and a good time to meet my supervisor to discuss all that I’ve been working on. S+
The nice part about doing a PhD like a job is knowing that it really isn’t a 9-5 job for when you need your week to be flexible. Say I’m doing something with a friend whole of Tuesday, I can still catch up on work on Saturday. I guess here student life is a lot similar to masters. But workload and pace on masters is a whole another thing. Here’s my blog on it.
When I took part in BUCS archery southern qualifier at Bristol, I needed to keep my Friday free and swapped some of the GTA work for other days of the week and never bothered to do catch up on PhD – because I need a break and don’t always love my research. 😀
So yeah, that was me in a week 😊