Finishing a PhD (or trying to)!

It is coming around to the half way mark of the PhD academic year, which means for some final year PhD students, it is only 6 months to go until the end of their degree.

Now this can be a scary thought for some, or a relief for others, but it is seen by many as potentially the most stressful part of the 3 or 4 years of a PhD. You have to complete a thesis (basically writing a book), potentially write a paper or two, all whilst trying to figure out what you want to do once you have finished. And for those who know what job they want, it is just a case of finding someone who will pay you to do said job!

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IT’S CHRISTMAS! But is everyone that excited?

It is approaching that time of year again when all you see in the shops in mince pies and tinsel. All anyone at university is talking about is Secret Santa and house Christmas dinners. Your bank accounts are slowly but surely emptying with all the present buying and Christmas meal attending. Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, what could be better?

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Perfect places to take your parents

So it’s the start of a brand new year at university; you are just getting used to having to wake up again for lectures and getting into the routine of nights out and sports practices and labs and seminars. And not being told what to do by your parents.

But without doubt, soon the parents will start appearing again, even though they only dropped you off a couple of weeks ago, most can’t seem to stay away. A weekend visit from your parents may be cherished by some or dreaded by others. But there are lots of advantages to your parents visiting. If you are lucky, they may bring you some treats to eat, or do a food shop for you. And in return you need to decide where to take them for dinner. Unfortunately, this time, a cheeky kebab or Morrison’s microwave meal may not cut the mustard. Continue reading

My first conference

Towards the end of June I set off to my first ever conference as a PhD student. I am a 2nd year PhD student in Biomedical Sciences and have spent the last (nearly) 2 years researching all about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), which is also known as Motor Neuron Disease. Therefore when I saw that the European Network to Cure ALS (ENCALS) conference was happening in June I thought I would sign up. Continue reading

Being a runner in Sheffield – or trying to be!

So you come to Sheffield as a new student and think ‘Oooh, maybe I’ll just pop out for a run’, and that’s when you see it… a hill.

Sheffield is famous for its hills, resulting in glorious views and the fabulous Peak District. But to most runners, including me, the sight of a hill in front of you is one of the worst things. Unfortunately for me, I live at the top of one of those hills. You may think that this is great news. It is. Until you realise whichever direction you run down in, at some point you will need to turn around and come back up again! Continue reading

Dealing with grief whilst at university

Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be extremely hard, regardless of how old you are or your situation. But losing a loved one whilst at university can be particularly tricky; you are away from home and your family, you don’t necessarily have a strict routine to keep yourself busy, and you have numerous essays/exams/seminars to prepare for. Grieving isn’t a strict uniformed process, it is different for everyone and there is no correct way to grieve.

However, there are lots of resources out there to help you deal with your loss: Continue reading

Earning some pocket money whilst doing a PhD

Most people know that you don’t do a PhD for the money, but rather for the love of your subject. PhD students are generally paid a stipend though, a non-taxable sum of money to cover basic living costs. This can range in amount but it’s always nice to be able to earn a bit more money on the side to enable you to treat yourself every now and again. It varies widely from department to department, but especially in the Science departments, there are a great number of ways to earn a bit more money, alongside your studies, at the same time as enhancing your CV. Continue reading

Starting the long and windy road to becoming a Doctor – how to survive starting a PhD

It is coming around to that time of year again when campus will be crawling with people; excited freshers starting their university experience, 2nd and 3rd year undergraduates back again for another jam-packed year, and let’s not forget, all those new and continuing postgraduates.

It can be just as daunting for a new PhD student as it is for a fresher. Moving to a new city, having to make new friends, starting a brand new course, it can all be very overwhelming, even if this is at least the second time of doing so. But with a few hints and tips, starting a PhD can be such an exciting time for any student. Continue reading

Two nights in Norway – a perfect weekend break

As any science PhD student can probably tell you, having things to look forward to at the weekends are what gets you through the days when science seems to be taking it all out on you.

So this past weekend I jetted off with my mum for a brief holiday away to Norway. The trip was a Christmas present to anywhere in Europe for a weekend so I chose Bergen, Norway. A 1.5hr plane trip from Gatwick took us straight to Bergen and 30 minutes later we were right in the middle of the city. Our lodging for the weekend was a hostel 5 minutes from the old fishing port. Hostelling is an amazing way to save money as well as meet other travellers and we managed to stay in the best hostel in Norway! In our room we had one Argentinian lady who had been travelling through Ireland, Scotland and now finishing her trip in Norway; we wouldn’t have met her in a hotel! Continue reading