Orientation and training – Week two as a PhD student.

Scholar has jumped to the front of my tiles on the google dashboard, like a new acquaintance jumping straight in at number one on my Myspace top ten friends. Before I continue, I feel obliged to let you know that the most interesting thing I did this week was fire safety training.

The week started with ‘Health and safety introduction’ which, despite its captivating title, wasn’t in the top three of training courses I attended this week. If you were to put a gun to my head I would say that ‘Lab awareness training, was number two, and that ‘Fire awareness and the use of fire-extinguishers for lab-based staff’ was number one. It took the number one spot purely because it involved putting out fires, in a lavish waste of perfectly good fire extinguishers.

Next week I have two courses and a chocolate tasting session to look forward to. The main bulk of my work this week has been searching through the literature trying to find papers that match the research I want to carry out. I am not sure how many hours a day it is possible to read scientific papers for, and still take in information, but from this weeks experience, I would say it is about 3.5 hours, dispersed over 7 hours with procrastination included. One thing about reading all day is that it is very tiring for minimal kcal expenditure. I am unsure if this will improve like a muscle being trained, or I will develop into someone that doesn’t need to read journal articles all day.

There were lots of other menial tasks that had to be done this week such as: changing my email to a post-graduate email address, getting forms for a locker, getting access to certain areas of the building etc. It seems I have sorted all the little things that come with being a new-starter, and now all I have to do is a PhD. I feel I should be less hard on my self for procrastination in the early stages as the work will build up. If I had started a new job the feeling would be the same, and it has been in previous employment. ‘Hi, sign this, then read this, and now shadow this person etc.’ If all the people in my department are anything to go by, I will soon be too busy, and will have to let down at least one person a week. Stress levels will also be ten levels higher, whilst feeling completely normal, so that is something to look forward to.

Being a post-graduate has so far, for me, been more lonely than under-grad. So when I am saying yes to almost every social event, so I don’t become the hermit I’m perfectly capable of becoming. I still need to take up a hobby; solving a Rubix cube in under two minutes does not satisfy me.


P.S. I know the writing is fairly poor here; see ‘About this blog’.


Published by Louis

Spend less than you earn, Invest the surplus, avoid debt. Eat food, not too much, mostly plants

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