Studying for a postgraduate research degree at the University of York is a great experience. And although you’ll have an amazing time studying, meeting new people and exploring the beautiful city of York, there are bound to be periods of time when you find it hard or need additional support. Trust me, doing a PhD in a global pandemic has definitely not been the easiest!
There are plenty of things you can do to help stay organised, happy and healthy whilst at uni. As a PhD student, I have found these tips have helped greatly. A PhD is a very independent experience. And some students may find it to be lonely and isolating at times which would have only increased due to the pandemic and online learning.
So why not check out these top tips for postgraduate students – particularly PhD students who have a lot more independence and flexibility with their work – on how to feel happy and supported at the University of York. The University offers so much support to all postgraduate students including research students which you can access at any time throughout your studies at York.
Make a to-do list
It sounds simple but by making a to-do list every morning with the tasks you hope to complete by the end of the day, you can stay motivated. The tasks on your list can be as simple or complicated as you desire – just make sure the list actually helps make you productive. Add any and all little tasks to your to-do list so you know you’ll have stuff to check off which will help you to feel more productive.
It may not work for everyone, but I find that it works well to stick to a routine. Treating your PhD as a 9-5 job is a good way to make sure you give yourself enough time to relax away from your work. At times this may not be feasible. But one benefit of a master’s degree or PhD is that you can still be flexible! So find a good balance that suits your lifestyle and needs. Whether you prefer to work late at night or stick to traditional working hours, find what feels good for you.
Whether you go to the gym, do yoga at home, run or walk, try to exercise often. If you live in York, make the most of exploring the historic city when you need some fresh air. It really helps to be active. Even if you just do some stretches or walk around your room whilst you wait for the kettle to boil! As we’re sitting at our computers all day, especially during the lockdown, it is important to get up and stretch every hour, if possible.
Sometimes you need a break from your work. Stepping back from your research can be advantageous. It allows you to return with a fresh mind to make changes and improve your work. Don’t feel bad for taking a break whenever you need it. Burnout is real! So make sure you give yourself enough time to relax away from your studies.
The University of York offers a wide range of academic support for all students. Whether you feel like you need additional training in a specific research method, need to improve your writing skills or want to learn a new language, there is a wide range of resources for you.
The library offers excellent digital and academic skills training including specific research training for postgraduate research students. You can also book 1-2-1 support at the writing centre, academic skills, maths skills, IT skills and much more! So if you’re struggling with something or want to improve a skill, make sure you take advantage of the training available to you.
Your health and wellbeing are important to look after and manage whilst at uni. It is very easy to get overwhelmed. If you’re struggling with your mental health, the Open Door team provides excellent support where you can talk to mental health practitioners. You’ll be able to talk to them about your issues and get extra support/referrals if needed.
Talk to People
It’s important to talk to people in your life if you’re struggling, overwhelmed, stressed or worried. Speaking to friends and family as well as college tutors and supervisors at the University can help you feel better about your wellbeing and alleviate any pressures about your work.
The University of York offers so much support for your academic skills and your health and wellbeing. As a postgraduate student, you’ll definitely feel supported throughout your degree whether it’s 1 year or 6 years! Make sure you check out all of the support the uni has to offer and engage with the specific people and support services when needed.
- Read more postgraduate student stories