I started my PhD looking at mental health and (un)employment at the University of Glasgow in October of last year.
I’m lucky that I have a great office space, on the main campus, and with great (and very friendly office-mates). I have been enjoying the process, and have been taking the time to realise what works – and doesn’t work for me – in the process. As, figuring this out now, will I’m sure, save me a lot of grief later on.
I’ve found that doing this research can be, at times, a little bit overwhelming, as it can be a lonely path which doesn’t require much social interaction on a daily basis (if they can even get past your piles of reading!). For that reason, taking some of the courses from the graduate school, participating student societies and meetings, volunteering, and taking some time outwith the ‘PhD sphere’ is a good way of clearing your mind, I’ve found. Thinking about something other than your research while still being productive is only a plus I think, and I’m lucky that the courses I’ve been on so far have been relevant and interesting – as well as gaining valuable experience.
The key for me has been to treat this as a ‘9-5 job’, trying to be as regular and disciplined as possible. Although, I must admit this hasn’t really worked out as planned during my first 3 months while dealing with my mental health, and learning how everything can fit in order for me to be as productive as possible. I have had a lot of support from the University, my Supervisors, support teams, friends and colleges, so I have no doubt I will be in line with what I envisioned as my ‘routine’ from the start.
In short, it has been an interesting and very busy time filled with learning experiences, both personal and professional. I’ve learning not to beat myself up if I need to take that rest day, the work will always be there the next day. I’ve learned that the flexibility offered by this PhD really has worked in my favour, and to go with that flow for now. I’m sure there will be enough time in the coming months, and years for me to try and get into that 9 to 5 routine.