I’m now in the final year of my part-time PhD with the Department of Education at York. It has been a long and interesting journey so far. Studying part-time has its own pros and cons. But an additional complication for me studying at York is that I actually live in Cambridge.
When I started my PhD, it just wasn’t practical for me to uproot and move to York. With the arrival of my son two years ago, it’s now even less feasible than before. Studying part-time means that I can remain living in Cambridge, but I travel up to York to meet with my supervisor on a regular basis.
This has been far easier than it might sound. It is perfectly possible to drive from Cambridge to York and back in one day. However, most of the time I take the train. There are great transport links along the East Coast railway line. Then it’s just a case of hopping on the number 66 bus at York station to take me straight to the University.
Worth the trip
I do have to admit that my trips to York have become less frequent since I became a mum. It takes a lot more planning, of almost military precision, to be able to pop out for a day trip to York with a little one! When we do travel up, I try to combine it with a trip into the charming city centre of York. This is especially nice during the Christmas period. The Christmas market is a must-visit attraction in York at this time of year.
So, you might be wondering why I didn’t just choose to study at a university that was closer to home? Well, I chose York after meeting several members of the Department of Education at a conference. Everyone was so friendly and encouraging about my research ideas that I thought it was worth the potential travelling difficulties to join such a welcoming group of colleagues and mentors.
I was delighted when I found out that I’d been accepted to study for my PhD with the Psychology in Education Research Centre in the Department of Education at York. My supervisor, Dr Poppy Nash, has been fantastically supportive and understanding from the very start of my PhD journey.
A rich postgraduate experience
I can say with confidence that I made the right choice to choose York for my PhD study. Living a fair distance away does mean that sometimes things are not as straight forward as they could be. However, I certainly don’t feel that it has detracted from the richness of my postgraduate university experience. I sometimes have to make an extra effort, such as setting off from home super early to make a 9 o’clock training session, or having to arrange telephone interviews when I could not attend in person. But I have made sure that I have not missed out on the many and varied opportunities that being a postgraduate student at York offers.
For example, I have been involved in an internship with the Careers Service and participated in the Three Minute Thesis competition. I’ve achieved the York Learning and Teaching Award for aspiring academics, and have taken on valuable teaching opportunities that will help my CV stand out in the job market.
And nowhere else would you look up to find geese watching your supervision meeting through the window! Visiting the beautiful campus for the first time and meeting the quirky wildlife helped to cement my decision to study at York.