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The course is open to anyone: PhD students, supervisors, friends and family, support staff etc. I'm hoping by taking part I can get some insight into how to support PhD students better.
The main theme of the course is surviving the emotional journey of a research degree. A PhD can feel like a long, hard, often lonely, struggle. It can also be exciting and joyful and stressful and a whole gamut of other feelings along the way!
Even if you're not taking part you can see some of the discussion on Twitter via #survivephd15
Here's some of the thoughts and tips I picked up from the first live chat of the course:
What if your supervisor doesn't seem invested/interested in you?
- Find another supervisor who is! Not always an option and changing supervisors can be like going through a divorce, but it's a very important relationship for PhD students.
- The University of Leicester Graduate School has a guide on You and Your Supervisors - Making Supervision Work for You.
- Build up a network of people who are invested/interested in you and your research - these could be other PhD students, peers, colleagues - could be a physical network (e.g. meet for coffee regularly) or a virtual network (e.g. online chats or via Twitter - try the #phdchat tag).
Encourage supervisors and PhD students to talk about the emotions involved in doing a PhD
- Perhaps ask your supervisor how they felt when they did their PhD, as a way introducing the topic.
- Important to seek professional help in some cases - supervisors aren't trained counsellors.
- The University of Leicester Graduate School has a guide to mental wellbeing for research students.
The Unruly PhD: Doubts, Detours, Departures, and Other Success Stories
by Rebecca Peabody
Thesis Survivor Stories: Practical Advice on Getting Through Your PhD Or Masters Thesis
by Marilyn Waring, Kate Kearins
These should be available as ebooks via the University Library from next week.