3 tips to have a more enjoyable PhD experience


Doing a PhD is being one of the best experiences of my life, and not only because of my research (Design of Soft Robotic Implants for Tissue Regeneration. Amazing, huh?). It is because the whole experience involves meeting new people, going new places and learning many different things. It took me one year to finally decide to start this new endeavour. What helped me to take the final decision? The support of my family and friends. Now that you have taken the decision of starting this new life project, I want to be that friend for you and let you know my top three tips for when you come to study your PhD at The University of Sheffield.

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Time management 101

Time Management. The thing we know we need to do but really can’t be bothered doing. I’m not afraid to admit that, last year, I was quite happy sailing along leaving everything until last minute, whether it was an assignment, exam prep or textbook reading. But when I pretty much scraped my way through 1st year, that’s when I realised I should probably change my ways if I want this £9,250 per year to pay off. So, there’s the fact that I’m not only in 2nd year, when grades actually count, but I have uni, a part-time job, extra-curriculars, friends and family to somehow fit into a 7-day week.

This is where the wonders of time management come to play. At first, I thought I’d write this post about the best ways to manage your time efficiently and make the most out of your free time…but that would imply that I completely know what I’m doing which certainly isn’t the case. However, I can suggest some tips which have helped me get by and manage the workload since entering second year.

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The challenge of learning a third language

I started in October to study a third language with the Modern Languages Teaching Centre. Actually, this is not the first time I have studied a third language: I studied French in school and I lived in the German part of Switzerland for a year, where I started learning German. I say third because as a foreign student from a Spanish speaking country, English is my second language. Continue reading

How do I revise again?

A combination of my LOA and my choice in modules second year has meant I’m faced with sitting three-hour long exams when the last exam I sat was in 2015.

Now, I wasn’t at first daunted by this prospect. I remember the days of taking myself to Western Park, sunnies on and my notes in hand, and getting through lots of work easily. I made mind maps, good use of my highlighters and found getting into the routine almost as easy getting up and going to my lectures during term times. (I had 11am’s guys, relax). Continue reading

Making the most of it

‘Making the most” of what little time remains of the academic year is a phrase I’m sure everyone has been hearing a lot lately. Whether the next month or so represents the end of your first or final year, it is definitely worthwhile to spend a bit of time investigating how you can make sure you don’t waste a moment and can look back on this year knowing you worked hard but also had plenty of fun. Continue reading

How to stay active during exams season

With exam season approaching, for most students the last thing you want to be doing is exercising. You’ll be spending your life in the library for the next couple of months and the only respite that seems appealing is sitting in front of Netflix and switching your brain off. However, the endorphins released when you exercise are a great way to relieve yourself of the stress caused by revision and impending exams. So here’s three ways to stay active during exam season without trying too hard. Continue reading

Taking a break during “a break”

Broadly speaking, there are two types of people.

Type A: can split their mindset into work and “down time” and stick to this effectively. Okay, when I say this I don’t mean the split is perfect – Type As do have a tendency to have too much “down time”, but none the less can completely switch off from work when they have decided they’re spending time away from it.

Type C: likes to tick off all their jobs before they have their “down time”, which is largely impossible, and they spend a lot of time when they should be relaxing thinking about all the “productive” things they could be doing instead.

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Unsure about postgraduate study? Consider studying part-time!

It’s that time of year when dissertation deadlines are looming, and the pressure is rising with every dreaded question of “so what are you doing next year?”. Trust me, I know how you feel!

A lot of people naturally turn to postgraduate study as it is a logical step in education after an undergraduate degree. However, a lot of people are also put off by the step up in intensity; postgraduate taught degrees run September to September and are 180 credits in comparison to undergraduate degrees which run September to June and are 120 credits, so it’s understandable! Continue reading