A week in the Life of a PhD student  0

Like I promised in my last post, this time I’ll tell you a little about how I spend my days. Since it’s Monday today, I’ll talk about what I did last week. I even kept some notes on a little post-it!



I actually started my Monday by doing some very useful tasks. I cleaned my desk and my outlook inbox. Even though I try to stay organised, my desk usually gets pretty messy. The picture below is a photo of my desk today, so my cleaning effort was futile. I’ll try again soon. IMG_1507


Monday is also teaching day at our institute. I wasn’t teaching last week, but because I supervise the research projects of student-teachers, there were plenty of research plans for me to provide feedback on.


The third big thing I did on Monday was think about an elevator pitch about my research subject and why it is interesting. My supervisor asked a few of us to prepare a pitch for a presentation on Friday. We also spent some time discussing what the presentation would look like.   Tuesday

On Tuesday I started working on my first paper. Which is equal parts exciting and terrifying. Just like Saskia predicted, I am filled with all kinds of writing anxieties. The life of a PhD student is so much fun.

Unfortunately, while looking through my data files, I found out one of my interviews got lost. So instead of actually working on my paper, I spent most of Tuesday working through the crappy feeling of data loss.  moderation-clipart-zyToK4GiE My roommate had asked a few researchers to comment on his observation scheme, so I also prepared for and participated in that meeting.

I was supposed to have a meeting with my supervisors, but it was cancelled. Tuesday was kind of lost. Just like my interview.



This was the day I started working on my paper for real.

I even typed out some words. Looked through my data. Reread some literature for my introduction.

Credit: Jim Corwin / Photo Researchers / Universal Images Group

Most of the day was spent thinking though. What do I want to write exactly? What is important? It would be so easy if I could just start writing and that’s it, but of course, it’s never easy.



Can you already guess what I did on Thursday? Yep. Worked on my paper. It’s so interesting to see the “fringe events” related to writing. You cannot imagine the time you lose doing these seemingly simple things. A lot of time was lost searching for good information on the Dutch Higher Education system to use in the context paragraph of my paper. Just looking through all my interview files to see the teaching experience of each interviewed teacher seemed to take forever. But, at the end of the day I had a very very very rough first draft to send to my supervisors for comments.


Also, I perfected my elevator pitch for the presentation on Friday. Since I’ve held numerous presentations about my research over the past year this was relatively easy to do. Thank god.



The ICLON had its annual study day, so this wasn’t a standard workday at all. After presenting my pitch I spent most of the day with the Higher Education department. We brainstormed on a few events that needed to be organised. And I enjoyed lunch and dinner and a walk on the beautiful estate where the study day was held. Like I said, nothing about this workday was standard. But it was fun.



I admit that I may not have chosen the most interesting week of my PhD life to tell you guys about. Especially since writing on my paper is actually a diverse task, but it’s hard to pinpoint everything that I’m doing to complete it. It all gets jumbled into “writing” in my head. But, it’s the reality of being a PhD student.


This week I’ll be working on my paper some more. Commenting on some more student work. Going to a symposium on being successful as a PhD-student. So I’ll be doing some useful things. What will you be doing all week?

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