Returning to the PhD after nearly a month out of the office…

I have been out of the office (pretty much) since the middle of September doing three main things.

Firstly, you may recall that I attended the ISIC conference. I was lucky enough to be able to visit Zadar in Croatia for this and present my work in front of academics in the field.  This did mean, however, that I was out of the office for a week and I did not have time to get much work done on the plans for my data analysis. I was not too annoyed about this as I was given the opportunity to share my work with others and that was PhD work in itself anyway!

The view from the cottage

Secondly, I took a week off! This was a scheduled holiday that I had had booked in since early this year knowing I would need a break after my RD5 review. I spent a week in a lovely cottage in the middle of nowhere which gave me the perfect opportunity to be away from the PhD and relax for a whole week. I discovered that this could be the perfect place for my third year PhD write up when I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed about everything I need to do! It’s quite a common thing to hear that PhD students don’t take holidays during their years as a student and for me that is totally a ‘no-no!’. I need a break every now and then to help recharge my batteries and get away from it for a while, which then helps me to be more productive when I get back. More importantly, when students don’t take this time (or even a short break) all the stresses and worries build up and they have nowhere to go and nowhere to hide. For me, the time away was a stress relief and time that I had set aside to make sure my PhD work could continue steadily upon my return.

Finally, I took some time off to go home. My mam had an operation ad I wanted to be there, not only to support her, but to make sure I knew she was okay (for my wellbeing) and to see how she was doing in herself. This was a completely PhD free week and I thought the guilt would build from doing no PhD work during my time off, however, I’m

My handy ‘to-do’ book (quite a life saver!)

quite glad to say there was no guilt in sight.

So now I am back to Edinburgh and my to-do list is very long! I have lots to plan out, some PhD re-scheduling to do and also lots of little tasks to tie up. I also have some social media to catch up on (hence the blog post) as time away means that got neglected too.  That is what I will be doing this week and then my plan of action begins. It may be that my secondary data analysis gets moved to next year and I focus on some of the more practical things, or it may mean it does not. My supervision this week has a hefty agenda and by the time we are finished I hope to have caught up with all supervisors with updates and plans… and set some deadlines for what I need to do next.

More updates on my PhD will follow soon.

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