Post-PhD viva feels

Post-PhD viva feels

Okay, so confession time. I originally planned to have this up on my blog two weeks ago, a couple days after my viva whilst the emotions were all fresh. Truth be told (which I think is a totally valid reason!) I needed a few days away from the laptop to indulge in bubbles and cake, to catch up with family and friends as well as getting back into Crossfit. Life is good!

To give a bit of context to this blog post, I submitted my PhD thesis to the graduate school here at University of Southampton mid-January after 4.5 years of hard work. That was massive relief number one! On Tuesday 27th February I passed my PhD viva and I am SO thrilled to say I am now Dr. Lisa Ellen Jones, massive relief number two!

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What is a PhD viva?!

The format of a PhD varies hugely across the world. Here in the UK we have a ‘viva voce’ which means by word of mouth. To prove that we are worthy of that Dr title we are questioned on our knowledge of the research subject, our methodologies, what the data means and the greater impact of our work. This is carried out by one internal examiner (at the same university) and an external examiner (from another university), both in a similar field of research.

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My viva experience

Everyone says you can’t fully prepare for a viva, you can’t really predict what questions the examiners will ask and how thorough/pernickety they’ll be. Very true. Everything I revised did not come up! Despite this, there is no such thing as being over prepared for a PhD viva.  Revise as much as you can because if it doesn’t go well after all that hard work, you’ll be kicking yourself!

So, the day arrived and I kept my cool until I got to work. Examiners met to discuss what they thought of my thesis in private, so waiting in the coffee room until they were ready for me felt incredibly long. They called me in and we chatted for a little bit before the viva started. It’s pretty common (from other people’s experiences) for the initial questions to be ones that ease the candidate in, e.g. summarize your main PhD findings in 3 minutes. Yeah, I did not have that! I think my first question was to define what ‘developmental priming’ is in a couple of sentences which was not mentioned in my thesis. The second question (from memory) was delving into the intricacies of epigenetics which was not part of my thesis. Tough start! My viva lasted for 4 hours and it was a page-by-page thorough going over. At times I felt incredibly stressed, but at other times I was able to relax into the questions a bit more. A PhD viva is all about defending your work… and gosh I did! Sometimes I felt that my ability as a scientist was being seriously questioned due to the intensity of the discussion, but the examiners are there to push your knowledge and to also learn themselves – remember that! I think I lost the perspective that I was the expert in my research field and some questions were not to trick me but were because they wanted to learn themselves.

After the 4 hours I was asked to step out of the room so they could discuss between themselves. I felt like I had no idea how it had gone. Part of me felt that I had failed as every little result was questioned and I really had to defend certain methodologies and statistical analyses. I walked back into the room and my external examiner smiled at me, shook my hand and said “congratulations Dr. Jones”. Hearing those three words were incredibly overwhelming (yes, my eyes totally welled up). For those of you that have read my previous blog posts (e.g. PhD slump) or followed my science journey on Instagram, you’ll know my PhD has been far from easy. Two years ago at the end of 2015/start of 2016 I really did not think completing my PhD was a possibility. With an incredible amount of love and support from friends, family and my mentor I decided to stick it out and persevere. To have carried on in the lab, written a whole 271 page thesis and to pass my viva and to be called “Dr” is amazing to me. I am so proud of what I’ve accomplished and I have so much respect for all PhD students out there.

PhD viva

If you’re a PhD student reading this, I want you to know how amazing the feeling of reaching the final milestone and proving that you are worthy of that PhD is. In those tougher moments remember that you CAN do it. Be strong, be curious, work hard (but PLEASE not 24/7.. sleep and having fun is kinda important) and celebrate successes.

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So what now?

Now the madness of thesis writing and viva prep is over I am currently working for my PhD supervisor to finish off some image analysis as an extension from my PhD work. I’ve also got some fun scicomm projects on the go and I’m in the process of applying for jobs! I guess it’s time to enter the adult world. BUT not just yet. I’m all about treating yourself on completion of milestones, so in just over a week I’m taking myself off to Thailand and Bali for a month to relax, have fun and to get some energy back in me!

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Thesis writing: Preparing in advance

Thesis writing: Preparing in advance

It’s time to talk thesis writing, a topic I know a lot of my followers are waiting to see pop up on my blog! For for those that don’t follow my science journey, I’ve submitted my thesis and my PhD viva/defence is next week! Throughout the process of writing my thesis I noted down bits of advice I thought would be worth sharing – a combination of things that really helped me and things I wish I had done in hindsight.

Of course, every PhD is different and our experiences are all going to vary hugely. However, there are definitely some golden nuggets of advice which will hopefully help everyone out.

There is SO much information I want to discuss so I’ve decided to break in down in to a series of posts. So let’s start from the beginning. Here are some tips for how to prep for thesis life when it’s not the sole focus and you’re still in the laboratory/generating data.

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My top 10 thesis prep tips:

 

1. Plan ahead. When do you want the research component finished? When will you start to focus primarily on your writing? When will you have a first draft completed by? Set these deadlines earlier than you’d like. Everyone I know has said the process takes longer than you expect, me included.

2. Prioritise. To achieve the above, prioritise! Make a plan for the rest of your laboratory/pre-writing work. Discuss with your supervisor the list of priorities… 1) What is necessary for you to pass your PhD. 2) What would be nice additions if you have the time. 3) Extra work which would be an additional bonus for your thesis, it’s not vital and could be a project for a student.

3. Make a thesis outline plan. Get a plan together of chapters and headings so you can start to think about the thesis flow. Arrange a meeting with your supervisor(s) to talk about this so you know you’re on the right track. Once you have that flow you’ll have a clearer idea of how your thesis will shape up, exciting!

4. Familiarise yourself with thesis guidelines. Check your university’s thesis guidelines and apply this to your outline plan. Most likely there will be specific margin requirements, font size, line spacing, order of content etc that your thesis has to be inline with. Check if it’s required to be bound double or single sided (if double you need mirrored margins to account for the binding edge. Having a play with this and getting it all set up when you have a spare hour here and there prior to writing will save you a lot of time formatting in the long run..

5. Make graphs as you go. Graphs tend to be more time consuming to make than you think! If you have a spare 30 mins in between experiments and you have data to plot, graph them! Arrange them into a layout so they’re good to go into the thesis. I use GraphPad Prism to make my graphs, a really user-friendly bit of software.

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6. Little bit of reading each week. Even if it’s just one afternoon a week, try to set time aside to stay on top of the literature. It keeps you in the loop with current research. Some people say you should read every day. Well, from my experience that was totally unrealistic. In fact, squeezing in reading every week was tough due to the nature of my experiments. A lot of my reading was done during the thesis write-up. Not ideal, but hey!

7. Note down all the details. Make sure any protocols and methodologies you use throughout your PhD are written in detail (including manufacturer/product details). It’s the little details that can be forgotten so quickly! When I came to writing up about the animal model I set up, there were so many steps and considerations that I had forgotten when it came round to writing the methods section… so thank goodness I’m thorough and all those details were already in a document. A lot of time information searching saved.

8. Utilise the positives of social media. A PhD isn’t like an undergrad or a masters where everyone in your cohort has the same exams and the same deadlines. Thesis life can be a little isolating in that respect. If you’re on social media utilise it for your needs! Follow and interact with other people in the same position as you. It can be a good source of support, Instagram was great for that!

9. Look at previous theses. Ask your supervisors, colleagues and friends to look at previous theses. They will give you an idea of what you’re going to be embarking on.

10. Remember the lab work/thesis is never a finished product. There’s always more experiments which could be done and different ways to analyse the data. You have to draw a line under the work at some point in order to get that thesis written, submitted and be awarded the title Dr.!

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Science journey update & 2018 goals

Science journey update & 2018 goals

After 4.5 years of PhD-ing, my thesis is finally written and I submitted it to my examiners last week! The PDF version got sent off on the Monday (little bit of an anti-climax!) but the printed & bound copies got sent off on the Wednesday. It started to sink in once I saw my hard work in a physical form and I feel like a massive weight has been lifted off of my shoulders! The last month of thesis writing was pretty stressful as I had a few road bumps which made it tougher than expected… but it’s now done! I can be proud of what I achieved and I can (sort of) relax! The journey to getting my PhD, however, is not quite over!

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So, what’s next?

  • My PhD viva/defence is end of February, so there will be a bit of revision required for that and practice vivas to be had! For those of you who don’t know what a viva is, or don’t know how it works over here in England, I have one ‘internal’ examiner from my university and one ‘external’ examiner from another university (relevant to my field). They will quiz me on my knowledge of the subject and my PhD work for 3-4 hours in order to see whether I’m worthy of being Dr Jones.
  • In the mean time I’m doing some image analysis work. This is carrying on from fluorescent microscopy I carried out in my PhD but the analysis was beyond the scope of my thesis. So, I’m back to counting and circling around muscle cells again!
  • My supervisor and I will be having weekly meetings to get the ball rolling on writing journal articles from my PhD work, so fingers crossed for some good publications.
  • It’s now time to be more proactive about my future. I’ll be updating my CV, LinkedIn, and applying for jobs etc etc!
  • In amongst all the ‘serious’ stuff I’m going to be getting back into a better fitness routine like I had before, and I’m in the process of planning my post-PhD travels! I’ve never had a gap year and I know I need time away to re-energise myself in order to come back and start my first post-PhD job all guns blazing!

I also want to use this blog post to share with you what I want to achieve in 2018. It’s not a secret that I love goals – whether that’s daily/weekly work goals, fitness goals or life goals! In fact, I wrote a blog post back in January 2017 on how to make effective goals, so go and check that out here!

This is the third year of making a goals board and it really does give me a sense of fulfilment when I tick them off one-by-one. In 2016 I ticked all of my goals off but in 2017 only half were achieved. Why? A few of them were all based on me submitting my thesis and having my viva in 2017, which didn’t happen! Thesis writing time had to be extended and that meant some of my goals suddenly became impossible. So, here’s to 2018 being a more exciting year! I’ve already achieved my first goal (submitting that thesis) and here’s everything I aim to achieve this year…

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I’m not one for New Years resolutions and it’s never too late to decide on what you want out of this year. What career/lifestyle goals do you want to complete in 2018?! Comment below, being a goal-geek I love to hear about them!

 

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Science, scicomm and supporting women in STEM – Sasha Weiditch

Science, scicomm and supporting women in STEM – Sasha Weiditch

For November’s Scientist Showcase please welcome the fabulous Sasha. Sasha is a PhD student over in Toronto, Canada. Her passion for science, engaging the public with research, and mission to empower women in STEM is so inspiring, passions I can really relate too! Sasha shares her science life over on Instagram as @scigirlsash which you have to check out! Over to you Sasha…

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What are you researching?

My PhD is in biochemistry, specializing in protein chemistry. Protein chemistry is a big field, because proteins are arguably the ‘do-ers’ in an organism. Your DNA holds all the information that makes you, well, you (aka your genes). Genes are encoded into proteins that float about in the cell and get all the molecular processes going. I’m looking at a specific organism, the bacteriophage, and how it’s molecular workings cause it to perform its function, which is to kill bacteria. Scientists are now looking for alternative sources to fight bacteria in our bodies, food or anywhere really because of the rise of antibiotic resistance amongst bacteria. This makes the study of bacteriophage an exciting prospect for the future.

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“I loved doodling the Krebs cycle in high school biology and thinking about all the elements in the periodic table in chemistry. Putting it all together and understanding that these beautiful and intricate processes drive us and our world forward, it’s really something wonderful to investigate”.

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You started #PhDenomenalPhDemale – tell us more!

It’s pronounced phenomenal female, and the hashtag was inspired by the well, ‘phenomenal’ women I am fortunate to have met throughout my graduate career. These are women who are choosing science, pursuing challenging PhD programs and following their passion to use science to create a better tomorrow. I thought – ‘I already know about these inspiring women, why don’t more people, and especially more young women?’. Throughout my academic career I had experienced the plaguing uncertainty, the challenging competition with peers, the long hours of studying, the feeling of ‘why am I even doing this?’ and yet, above it all, I made it through. While I am now accustomed to those feelings being a natural part of the PhD process, I am aware of how debilitating those thoughts are as a high school or university student. Thus, PhDenomenalPhDemale is a way to give real life examples that with the right amount of perseverance, hard work and belief in yourself, your dreams are attainable.

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Let’s talk scicomm! Your Instagram is just beautiful.

I enjoy using Instagram for science communication as it’s a fast and fun way to be part of a community of scientists and bloggers. I love sharing cool science, or, everyday science that’s cool. Using IG to learn from other scientists and followers who comment and ask questions is one of my favourite ways to share information! I love that anyone can tap into their device and ask a scientist a question, or see what day-to-day research life is like. I’m hopeful that this type of interaction will shed a positive light on scientists and break stereotypes for women in science.

I’m also very aware of the negative aspects of an app that is on a device that is with you literally all. the. time. In one minute, harmful societal notions of how your body is supposed to look, what you’re supposed to say, eat and dress like are reaffirmed by these falsely idolized figures. So basically, I was sick of it. I wanted to be part of a space that promoted real women doing inspiring things in their lives and in science.

SoapBox Science

I recently took part in Soapbox Science, which I found out about through IG! I was honoured to be part of this event as it aligns with my goals as an ‘instagrammer’, which is to promote women in STEM. Standing on my Soapbox in the busiest intersection in downtown Toronto wearing my lab coat, I got asked many questions on my topic, the bacteriophage, by young and old, men and women. And – it was a lot of fun!

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How do you balance work, scicomm and personal life?

A valuable piece of advice given to me that sticks into my mind all the time: not every day has to be balanced to achieve ‘work-life balance’. Sometime days are longer, some days are shorter. Some weeks are longer, some weeks are shorter. Being a PhD student, this resonated with me because I often (like I think many millennials are) am trying to fit it ‘all’ in and succeed in my professional goals. I try my best to make time for things like fitness, spending time with family and friends and of course, keeping up with blogging and social media. Still my PhD work is primary, so keeping this advice in mind, I remember not to stress when the ‘balance’ isn’t met and make up for it in the future.

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For other current/soon-to-be PhD students, what are your dos and don’ts?!

Do NOT think that you are alone in experiencing the roller coaster of success and failures in your research or graduate school life. Great discoveries are spawn of the curiosity to try something that may not succeed (or better, you learn from that negative results as well!).

Stay focused on your research goals but also make time to find out what else excites you outside the lab or in other research groups. There’s a whole world waiting to collaborate in many cool ways.

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And finally, a day in the life of Sasha!

 

A huge thank you to Sasha for sharing her life as a scientist, science communicator and promoter of women in STEM. To see more of what she gets up to head over to her Instagram and give her a follow, or you can find her on Twitter!

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PhDs, academia and mental health

PhDs, academia and mental health

It’s October 10th, and it’s World Mental Health Day.

It therefore seemed like a good time to talk about PhDs, the world of academia and mental health. It’s a topic that is commonly overlooked, yet so important to have awareness of.

Embarking on a PhD is exciting, they come with amazing opportunities and you’ll be an expert in your research field by the end of it. You’re the creator of knowledge and have the ability to share it with the world. How awesome is that? A PhD can take 3-7 years depending where you are in the world. Yes, it’s a long journey. Kind of like an endurance event – a lot of people go through the motions, you get the highs and you get the lows.

Everyone’s PhD journey is different, there are many factors which dictate how easy/hard the ride will be. For some it can be a very isolating experience and research shows a high proportion of students struggle with mental health, from anxiety to clinical depression.

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Self Reflected in Violets - Greg A Dunn Design
Self Reflected in Violets – Greg A Dunn Design

We don’t often like to talk about our struggles in life. We don’t want to appear weak to others. We want people to see the good aspects of our lives. Sometimes we may struggle mentally but we don’t want to even admit that to ourselves because the realisation is a scary one. It’s a taboo subject for sure.

There’s a culture of acceptance around mental health issues in the world of academia. This acceptance needs to be broken down. Why should people suffer in their job? Since when was that ok? Of course a PhD is difficult, it’s the highest qualification a person can get, and we don’t expect an easy ride but the common view “A PhD is supposed to be hard” is not ok. There’s a difference between a journey being challenging and a journey where struggling mentally is accepted as that’s just the norm.

Over the last few years, people have started to speak out more, which is fantastic. Sharing experiences can help others in the same position a great deal as it helps them to relate to another person.

 

Reflection

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What research says:

A study in Belgium, published earlier this year in the journal Research Policy, investigated the prevalence of mental health problems in 3,659 PhD students. Here’s what they found:

  • 51% experience psychological distress
  • 32% experience common psychiatric disorders.
  • The prevalence of mental health problems is higher in PhD students than in other highly educated populations.

The main causes include: work-family conflict, work overload, unrealistic demands, unsupportive supervisors, interpersonal problems at work and sleep deprivation as a result of worrying about work.

A report in the USA also revealed that between 42% and 48% of University of California science and engineering PhD students are depressed.

Both studies add to the literature surrounding academia and mental health, and emphasises the need to put policies in place to support the issue.

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“Universities should adopt mental health as a strategic priority, implementing a whole university approach, with students and staff involved at all stages of the journey.” – Universities UK

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So what can you do for you?

IG tip #14

 

Self-care – Remember your mental and physical wellbeing is a priority, look after you! Fellow bloggers (dr.ofwhat? and Heidi R Gardner) have written blog posts about self-care so go and check those out!

Have a nose at my blog posts – I share advice on various aspects linked to the PhD life in my PhD SOS feature, from how to get out of the PhD slump, to easy ways to add exercise into your busy schedule, to getting your focus and motivation back – check them out!

Talk about your feelings – Whether that’s to family/friends/partner or a mentor. A mentor can be hugely useful. Seek out what support services your University provides. Talking about your struggles may help you understand your feelings a bit more, and that self-awareness might help you to push for change.

Be proactive in creating change – Talk to relevant charities, work with your university. Help to increase awareness of the issue and help to break these acceptances down. Perhaps you could promote wellbeing and mindfulness sessions within your university?

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Please remember:

  • You are not alone, there’s a wealth of support out there.
  • You can have a social life as well as get a PhD.
  • It is not ok to work yourself to the point of illness.
  • It is not ok for academics to encourage this behaviour.
  • Asking for help is not a weakness, seek help and try to put advice into practice.

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Conscious about conservation – Krissy Middleton

Conscious about conservation – Krissy Middleton

It’s the first blog post of the month which means it’s time for another Scientist Showcase. For October please welcome the inspirational Krissy (@conservationistkrissy).

Krissy is a 27 year-old postgrad studying Conservation and Biodiversity and writes her super amazing blog “Conservationist Krissy”, which you just have to check out! I love following what she does via Instagram, I learn a lot from her. I’m therefore so excited to introduce you to her, over to you Krissy!

Krissy

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Tell us a little bit about you

People always ask questions like “what made you want to..?” or “do you remember the moment you decided to..?’, but to be honest I never had that ‘life changing moment’ people speak of.  My affinity for wildlife and the natural world is something that has resonated in me since before I can recall!  It may sound cliché, however, I could not imagine doing anything else with my life; I feel a genuine responsibility to protect our planet and the creatures we share it with.

After finishing school, I travelled to Madagascar for conservation, studied sports science for a year, worked in client servicing (finance), researched wildlife in South Africa, backpacked around Indo and Australia, and then decided to return to school and follow my dream.  Earlier this year I finally achieved my first class degree in Animal Conservation, and am beyond excited to be a part of the latest Conservation student cohort at University of Exeter. 

I’m passionate about community engagement and science communication, I want to facilitate plastic pollution mitigation efforts, I want to travel and work in the field, and I’m really interested in solutions to human-wildlife conflict. So, who knows where I’ll end up!

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What inspired you to start your blog?

University has opened my eyes to so many conservation issues and cutting-edge wildlife research, and has allowed me to develop my writing skills.  So, a little over a year ago I realised I wanted to communicate what I was learning, to influence and educate other people, and to simply have an outlet for everything I was thinking and feeling about conservation.  So enter ‘Conservationist Krissy’!

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So you’re transitioning to a zero-waste lifestyle? Tell us more!

Being a conservation student can have its drawbacks; learning about all the issues our planet is facing can be infuriating and overwhelming.  BUT, that doesn’t dissuade me.  I have seen the power humans can have when they come together; the change that one person can make, no matter how small.

I am working towards eliminating plastic from my life and reducing the waste that we produce.  Marine plastic pollution is a devastating issue and one that does need to be taken seriously.  I want everybody reading to understand that myself and other zero-waste bloggers are not preaching, we are simply passionate about protecting the environment and honestly believe that a zero-waste lifestyle is do-able.

Hopefully, when people understand the impact it has on the creatures we love (turtles, whales, and even your dog!) they will feel compelled to make a change.

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Any beginner tips to lead a more environmentally sustainable way of living?

Buy the following items: a re-usable coffee mug and a re-usable water bottle.  Single-use plastic bottles are one of the worst offenders and if we could all commit to refusing them we would start to significantly reduce plastic waste.

The best advice I can give is to organise yourself if you are committed to making a change – do your research, decide where and when you can do your shopping, and take everything you need! If you’re going to make the change sustainable (longevity), it’s best to make changes gradually – it’s like dieting, you won’t stick to it if you wake up one day and try and do it all at once.

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How do you balance work and personal life?

It’s something I’ve always struggled with because I am so desperate to do well.  Having said that, I am learning.  I do my best to fit in the things that I enjoy; Crossfit, hiking/walking, reading, and relaxing with my two boys.  It sounds ludicrously obvious, but when I make time for these things I perform better, and I enjoy my work more.

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I am going into this year with a slightly different attitude.  I am organised, I schedule, and I adhere to deadlines.  But I will not turn down the things that matter; I am going to make sure I take time for me, and for my relationship.

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Thank you so much for asking me to be part of your showcase feature. Keep doing you Lisa! x

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And finally, a day in the life of Krissy!

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A massive thank you to Krissy for sharing her story and tips in helping us lead a more environmentally sustainable life! She really is so inspirational so please check out her blog and follow her and her journey on Instagram.

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Science Diaries: Three months to go

Science Diaries: Three months to go

Two months later and it’s time for another Science Diaries post. Since my last one, I’ve learnt how to create a multilevel regression statistical model  (I won’t bore you with the details!) in order to analyse my animal data sets which was a massive hurdle. As of yesterday I’ve now run all of my data (I think) through the model, so I’m a very happy girl. Here’s another snapshot of my day as a PhD student.

Onto the next phase…

0621 yoga

6:21am: The constant desk work is really starting to feel detrimental to my body despite being a very active person outside of PhD work. It’s easy for a few hours to pass whilst just sitting running the statistics model on data set after data set.  So I’ve decided to start 20 minute morning yoga sessions to improve mobility. This morning was the first one!

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0702 breakfast7:02am: Protein porridge is my favourite way to start the day. Genuinely makes me so happy early in the morning! Sets me up for a productive day of work. A lot of science communication Twitter chitchat happens US time, so I normally combine breakfast with catching up on conversations I’ve missed overnight.

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0836 Nipper check

8:36am: Today was another NiPPeR study on-call day. I briefly explained what this study is all about and how I’m involved in my last Science Diaries post. No deliveries over night and no women in labour ward meant it was a placenta processing-free day for me.

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0950 meeting prep

9:50am: Every Wednesday at 10am I have a meeting with my primary supervisor. The first part of my morning was gathering all the data I had analysed over the past week so we could discus the results. We also have a kids day organised by my supervisor in a couple of weeks which I’m helping out with, so I thought I should probably swat up on what I’m supposed to be doing for it!

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1133 supervisor meeting

11:33am: My PhD meeting is over which was really productive! We discussed my data and a few extra things I could do with it. I’m now at the point where I’ve done all the data analysis I can do for now, so it’s onto the thesis writing. This was a pretty daunting realisation! We also discussed viva dates following a conversation my supervisor had with my internal and external examiners. SCARY! It all feels a lot more real now.

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1357 plan IG post

1:57pm: Lunch eaten and my lunchtime walk done to properly stretch those desk-bound legs! I finished my lunch break with planning my Instagram post which was all about making daily goals to stay on track, and how that helps us to feel more motivated and positive about work.

 

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3:26pm: Time for my friend Emma and I to have some filming fun! I’m currently doing an engagement and science communication internship with my department. We have various research themes and I’m filming interviews with researchers from each one. Today I was making the most of Emma having her a-MAZE-ing placenta game at work so managed to get some good footage of her for the public engagement theme. Totally love this girl, she’s mad.

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1640 deadlines

4:40pm: Now that it’s time to write this thesis, a plan is definitely required. I’m giving myself until Christmas to hand it in, I don’t want to go into 2018 with this still looming over me. So it’s T minus three months and deadlines are getting set. It’s going to be tough but it’s the final phase now, just got to power on through and stay focussed.

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1804 Bright Club

6:04pm: I’ve finished PhD work for the day and walked the extremely long 7 minute walk back home. So for some strange reason I’ve agreed to perform at Bright Club this Friday in my PhD city of Southampton, UK. It’s an event where researchers become comedians for the evening so I did a little bit of practice before my housemate came home. I’ve never done anything like this before so I’m a little nervous, but very excited! All the comedy sets will be going up on YouTube so I’ll hopefully be blogging about it next week and sharing the footage… if it goes well of course!

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1943 dinner

7:43pm: Dinner time. This evening was chilli with a little bit of mushroom rice and green veg. I was trying to be healthy today but then my housemate decided to make cake, which of course I was not going to say no to. I’m looked after so well! I may never move out.

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2013 blogging and film

8:13pm: Normally I CrossFit in the weekday evenings but I’ve started being more organised in order to push my blog further, whilst having a good balance between PhD work/blogging/fitness/social life. I always publish my blog posts on a Thursday so I’m now setting aside Wednesday evenings to write a blog post or finish bits off if I started it at the weekend. I wrote this blog post whilst watching a film on the sofa… and of course eating cake. Perfect way to blog!

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