Monthly Archives: June 2016

PhD Student Life 101

I have this feeling people wonder what I am doing on a regular basis in my PhD student life. I get this question on a regular basis. To answer your question, this blog post is for you.

Besides working full time, I live a parallel work life at night and on the weekends. I would argue this PhD student life is probably more hectic. This life consists of not only writing a dissertation but juggling conference and journal deadlines. On a daily basis, there is often no time to write a dissertation but rather I am working on more pressing items. For example, this past week I have been serving as a reviewer for a conference. It means that my nights are spent reading abstracts, scoring them and then I am providing detailed feedback. For those of that are teachers you will know that providing feedback is often a time-consuming and lengthy task especially when you want to provide constructive feedback.

Some nights I am working on my own writing proposals, writing conference abstracts or finishing up some piece of writing that is due the next day.

Of course there is RA (Research Assistant) work that often flies my way. These tasks have to be done relatively quickly so that means the rest of my to do list (including my dissertation) gets pushed to the back burner.

If you know me, you also know that I always have more than one project on the go. In addition to my dissertation, I am also juggling other projects.

Dissertation work consists of transcribing data (which takes hours…think 30 minutes of data potentially 6 hours plus to transcribe), analyzing data and (hopefully!) writing up dissertation chapters.

Now my life prior to going back to work full time was a bit different. I taught undergrad classes, so in addition to the list of items I have mentioned I was marking assignment, prepping lessons, and answering student emails. If I was teaching an online class, my to do list consisted of maintaining the digital environment (fixing links) and answering discussion forum posts.

Ultimately I haven’t listed everything I do on a daily/weekly basis. However, as you can see I do have my plate full and this is the social reality for most PhD students. If you ask any of my colleagues/classmates they will tell you the same. (haha, did I mention I also have to find time to read? I guess that happens in the cracks of time. I also didn’t add “Conference Season” into the discussion. That is whole other story).