Archives for : April 2015

Guest post by Francesc Esteve – 5 Interesting Things about my Research Stay at ICLON-Leiden  2

My name is Francesc Esteve, I am from Spain (SP), and I have just presented my doctoral dissertation at the Rovira i Virgili University. During the last semester I did a research stay at the ICLON Graduate School of Leiden, and I like to explain my international experience in this post.


I started my PhD four years ago. After finishing the theoretical framework and data collection, I thought it might be a good idea to stay a while at another European university, to share and compare my results, draw future lines of work and finish writing my work.

I’ve tried to summarize this experience in 5 points detailed below, five things to highlight, that I’ve learned or that’ve surprised me.

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Planning like a Pro  0

I am a planner, an organizer, a nit-picker. I love to plan. I love to plan dinner, I love to plan vacations, I love to plan my work. OK, so I might be a bit of a controlfreak. But planning is one of the most essential things to do while conducting your PhD, so we were told last week by The Dutch PhD Coach Arjenne Louter. While I might be over-organizing things myself sometimes (illustrated by the pictures below: (1) my “Wall of Thought”, (2) my neighbour’s wall), still I found some tips to be very helpful. Especially when you are just starting out as a PhD, just like me, planning four years into the future might make you somehow scared, stressed, or leave you completely blank. What on earth will you be doing in your 4th year when you have not even been around for 6 months yet?! Do not panic, for here are some tips for planning your PhD when you have only just started.


(1) My “Wall of Thought”.
(2) My neigbour’s wall.
(2) My neigbour’s wall.


Plan your PhD: Tips for starting PhD’s

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Keep that fire burning!  1

It has been one and a half year ago since I have started my PhD research project and although most of the time I’m in a flow, fully enjoying the work, some challenges I face along the way will prevent me from keeping the fire burning. As Anna van der Want has shown in her blogpost humor can be helpful in dealing with struggles that come along in a research project. In this blogpost I present four ideas that can brighten up your days as a PhD-student, which I’ve found during a symposium of the PhD-network from the Netherlands Educational Research Association (VPO) last week.


On a rainy Wednesday afternoon a group of Dutch PhD’s gathered in Den Bosch to hear not just any story about being successful in PhD-life from experienced professionals in PhD supervision and planning. Especially Joseph Kessels’ story will help me when I’m in need of a research related energy boost, since he shed light on two sides of becoming a researcher. He came up with some realizations that can help PhD-students to be proud of your work even when you lost the spark for a while.

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