A week in the life of a postgraduate student

Hi! I’m Paige and I am currently studying MA Translation here at Surrey. I am also a Team Captain of the Ballroom and Latin club and like to keep fit in my spare time. This week, I will be sharing with you a typical week of my life as a postgraduate student here during the pandemic.

Rainbow over the University of Surrey library, taken on my daily walk


I do not have any lectures on Mondays so the temptation always arises to indulge in a three-day weekend… but today I prepared myself for my week of lectures by watching some of the pre-recorded material for my seminars during the week. However, I took advantage of my free day by heading out for a socially-distanced walk with a friend at lunchtime, which left me feeling nicely refreshed to get some coursework done in the afternoon and evening ahead of the due date next Tuesday. I also managed to squeeze in a short workout before I ate dinner and headed to bed.


This afternoon I had my German specialised translation session. Some of my seminars are more interactive than others and this is one of the ones where I can really get involved and do some practical work. At this point of the year, I am also having to start thinking about what I will write my dissertation on, so I had a zoom call with my personal tutor, who was able to give me some support both personally and academically and set me on the right track for writing my dissertation proposal. He suggested some books for me to read which I picked up from the library once I had finished studying for the day.

My walk along the River Wey, approx 20 minutes from campus


Today is my busiest day of lectures. I had a seminar on the translation of persuasive texts in the morning, followed by a lecture from a guest speaker in the afternoon. I find that talks from guest speakers are really valuable for giving an insight into the industry (beyond university) and preparing me for the world of work. It is very motivating hearing from people who have succeeded in the field. I did a workout in the evening once I had finished my work for the day to keep myself moving.


Today I had another more interactive lecture in the afternoon. I got up early and spent the morning doing some coursework, then after lunch prepared myself for my seminar so that I could contribute during the session. After the lecture my brain was tired so I did another short workout and then did a small amount of reading before bed.

Getting ready for my Zoom workout


On Friday evenings I attend a fun dance session on zoom. For me, I find it’s really important to keep my week’s structure even in lockdown (otherwise every day would be the same!), so having something fun and sociable to do on a Friday is really valuable to me. It also gave me a good opportunity to unwind after my day of studying. Today I had one seminar on zoom and also did some preparation for next week’s specialised translation sessions. Dance finished at 7PM so afterwards, I took some time to relax with my flatmates.


On Saturday mornings I teach an exercise class on zoom. I really look forward to this as I get some exercise done but also get to see some of our club members (albeit virtually). It’s a great way to start the day. At this point in the semester, the workload starts to step up for many courses, so I spent the rest of today doing some coursework. As it was a weekend, though, I treated myself to a 4PM finish and cooked dinner with one of my flatmates. As we are unable to go out at the moment, we even moved the table into my bedroom and ate together as if we were in a restaurant!

Our roast dinner setup


I try to keep this day as free as possible to make sure I’m rested for the following week. I had a lie-in, cooked myself a nice breakfast and then got on with cleaning my room, doing my washing and any other boring jobs that mean I will be ready to start fresh on Monday. I also had my weekly asymptomatic COVID test today to keep myself and my flatmates safe. In the afternoon I put on some good music got on with some “life admin” tasks, which for me this week was sorting out some paperwork for the flat I will be moving into after I graduate. I finished my Sunday by facetiming my family and then watching a movie before a nice early night!