Tag Archives: friends

Starting Grad School: You don’t have to wrestle the snake!

Before we start, you need to read this:  Partly because my punch line is going to hang on you being familiar with the metaphor, and partly because if you’re here, then basically you need it in your life.

Anyway,

It would be safe to say that my PhD has not been plain sailing.  I’m not sure that anybody’s doctorate actually goes smoothly and pleasantly at all times, but I genuinely believe that – as the lovely Jenny Rohn from LabLit.com said yesterday – if you can survive this then you can survive anything. So how do you? Survive, I mean. I’ve talked about making your PhD easier by being organised from the start, and finding a support network and by not letting yourself get dragged down. But what about when you’re completely at rock bottom? What about when it’s time to do or die?

Continue reading

Advertisements

Starting Grad School: Get Sociable

Moving to a new city to start my postgraduate studies was one of the most daunting things I have ever done. Going to uni in the first place as an undergrad was a piece of cake: I’m musical, I’m sporty, I’m religious and I like giving people food. I’m not amazing at making close friends but I am very good at making friendly acquaintances. And everybody else was in the exact same boat, desperate to meet their new best friends and super keen to be involved with everything.

After I graduated I worked in a lovely, supportive school, that expected all of the staff to be involved in much more than just teaching. Even if there hadn’t been the immediate camaraderie of bitching in the staff room about disruptive kids, I got to know people through the musical side of the school, and Duke of Edinburgh, and Christian Union.

Moving here was a whole other ball game. The postgrads separated out neatly into:  Continue reading

Grad student support networks: finding friends in unexpected places

The internet is now full of advice for new and prospective PhD students. Go visit your lab before you agree to work there. Talk to the other postgraduates to find out what the lab is really like. Start your reading before you matriculate, but don’t expect it to help you understand anything. Begin writing early. Make sure your support network is in place, and understands what you’re doing…

But wait a second. What support network? Sure, if you’re staying in the city where you did your undergrad, with friends and a boyfriend and maybe even family around you then that’s a silly question. But what if you’re moving somewhere new? What if you’re travelling cross country to a new city where you know nobody?

Continue reading