The Postgraduate Trivia Blog

A blog by nathaliephd

New Year Resolutions

by nathaliephd
on January 02, 2014
So, the festive season is upon us! For many students, it will mean a break but for most postgraduate students, it is going to have to combine studying and trying to enjoy the holidays.
I remember only too well the dilemma that was upon me every year when I was an MPhil and then a PhD student: To study or not to study! Packing my suitcase before going home was always a bit of a ritual, weighing out space for books or journal articles (these were the days before electronic journals!) and other things I needed, like clothes! To lighten my conscience, I would inevitably pack more journal articles than I would realistically read, feel guilty that I hadn’t looked at them as they stayed at the bottom of said suitcase and on the last day or in the plane, take them out to finally have a cursory look to convince myself I had done some work!

I remember one of the rare occasions when I decided that I wouldn’t take anything and use the space more effectively (to pack Christmas presents for example) and to allow myself a break. This resulted in convincing myself every morning that I could have and would have read one article a day!

So is there any compromise to this? Well, as I once advocated in an article on the Average PhD Week, having a break or taking annual leave, the latter being more relevant to PhD students, can be very productive. Yes, revising for your Masters exams and reading articles for your PhD is important, but a well-rested student is more likely to sustain their motivation levels.

Why not draw a timetable for the Christmas holiday and have “on-days” as well as “off-days”. Set yourself realistic goals for each of the “on-days”, for example: reading 2 articles or 1 hour of research/note-making or tidying your existing notes or 1 hour of research on potential Masters dissertation topics or 2 hours on revising your notes.
As for myself, my PhD is far behind me but I still find myself feeling guilty for not doing work over the holidays (that’s one of the downside of being a freelance translator!) but at least this blog is finished! And I fully intend to be off Christmas eve, Christmas and my favourite UK holiday (we, French people, do not have any equivalent to it), Boxing day!

Happy New Year!

Comments

posted
24-Dec-14, 23:53
edited about 21 seconds later
Avatar for FMSaigon
posted about 6 years ago
My study has always tended to be deadline driven, last minute crazy inspiration fueled by impending deadline counting in hours. That got me through BA, two masters, CFA, but PhD (part-time) will need more discipline. I write lists upon lists of tasks, but rarely reach the tail end. Perhaps it is time to mix it up.

2015: one new language (course), one professional certification exam, a few conference presentations, a new job (?), Oh yeah, and PhD proposal and registration..

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