Hi guys,

I'm just wondering how often you take a break, and for how long? I don't just mean weekends, I mean a holiday, a trip, some time out where you completely shut off, without thinking about work? How often in the space of a year? I'm only 2.5 months into my PhD and I have a lot to do but it's not too overwhelming yet. I might go home at Christmas for two-three weeks without the books, or the lap top (it infuriates my 'supportive' parents). I'm feeling a bit guilty for it though and just wondering how often the rest of you shut off from the PhD, or do you ever!?. M,x


I was wondering the same thing - not having set 'on' and 'off' time makes it difficult to establish when exactly we should be working! I figure that even in the world of employment you have a good few weeks off a year and the advantage of working on your own schedule means that in theory if you're meeting your targets/objectives/deadlines you can have as many holidays as you want! A friend of mine in the department works ridiculously long days and puts herself through hell so she can justify taking a month off here and there to go travelling - it seems to work for her!

The issue with me is that my supervisors aren't too good with letting me know where I should be work-wise so I'm never quite sure if I'm ahead! Time off at Christmas is essential though and I have far too many cats at home to ever get any reading done.

Not sure this really counts as an answer but thought I'd contribute anyway!


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I receive a scholarship, and it states that I can take 4 weeks of annual leave a year (just like in a 'real' job!), however I've never done this. Since starting my PhD I've taken a week off here and there, but now that I'm writing up I'll just take a few days off at Xmas and then will need to get back into it. I'm a bit of a workaholic - I never have a whole w'end off either. But then, I write slowly, so need to work this hard I think!


ithink maybe i'm a bit too lazy sometimes but i rarely work weekends and tke probably a total of 4 weeks off per year. My logic (for christmas) is the uni is shut so i won't work! maybe this year i will as now in my third year. Really should be reading way more and thinking about writing stuff.


I take 6 weeks off plus about 10 days around christmas every year. I take three weeks in the summer and join the other three weeks with christmas holidays. I think holiday is a right and you shouldn't feel guilty. Besides you are just in your first year and you would probably become busier later. PhD is a long journey, you need to take some break.


Holidays...I remember them once. Just let me fetch my pipe and slippers and sit by my coal fire while I start to reminisce... Ah, yes, I used to be able to not work for weeks at a time before I became institutionalised at my uni doing a PhD. This Christmas, I'm going to take off Christmas day and half of Boxing Day - then it's (ding ding) round/day 814 of my work. Right, off to get a bag of Monster Munch (beef flavour of course) to cheer myself up. :-)


Hey Walminski, I'm gonna be working over Xmas too, so we can commiserate together (altho we're about 11 hours apart). Make sure you build in lots of fun tho - I figure if I have to work, then I'm at least going to make sure that I catch up with friends and have some fun, before I get right back into sitting here for 500 hours a day.


I have had on average ten weeks off in the past two years. I am just about to take another five weeks off soon, but will probably do work for one of these weeks. After that my write up year begins and I anticipate only one week off and a few days here and there next year at most. I personally think it is very, very important to take holidays. However I also think it's important to have strict boundaries around when the holiday starts and ends - not something I am good at myself!


I took 3 weeks off here and there between June and September this year and regretted it as I got out of my stride (much as the holidays were great!). I often take work with me even then, but seldom get much done. At Christmas there'll be a few days with my future inlaws (hmm...!) and I lose days here and there when I don't do much work. This Christmas I won't be able to stop for long: I have too much to do! I did lots of writing over last Christmas too. I think I take about the same holiday as I would in a job (my approach to most of my work) but it's helped that my fiancé is in a 9-6 job and our holiday will almost always match up. In the first year you might be able to take 2 or 3 weeks off at Christmas but I'd probably suggest you take some work with you to keep it ticking over at least.

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my mother in law suggested I take phd work on my honeymoon - you can imagine my reaction haha :-s

We are booking a cottage somewhere in feb this year. Going to hide ourselves away for a week and light fires and eat loads of chocolate, take the dog out a lot - the main reason being hubby has a PhD that is ALMOST finished and just needs reorganising, proof reading and a few paragraphs here and there, so that;s the plan. He took a full time job at the end of his 3rd year so it all got put on hold, so this is the time to get it done and dusted.


"The only observation you should worry about is the one I make of you". Pretty much sums up my experience with my supervisor thus far...M,x


Holidays are the way forward!! I take at least one big holiday a year (2 weeks or more) and have other shoter holidays throughout the year... or just lots of days off.

Saying that, I am possibly the laziest PhD student around. :-)

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jinkim - I have seen you on the sneaks accountability thread and you are not lazy, not compared to me. I might have a lot of aims, but do they ever get done!???


Uni regulations said I could take 5 weeks a year. I took 3 weeks in 3 years, and some days here and there, plus time over Xmas as uni was closed anyway!