Tuesday, 17 July 2018

10 tips for the overwhelmed researcher (Autumn O'Connor)

Photo by Kevin Ku | unsplash.com
Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem - we all have 24-hour days
   - Zig Ziglar

Feeling overwhelmed? Too many deadlines and too little time? Supervisor on your back to submit something? 

While it won’t solve all your woes, perhaps what you need is a little help with time management.

Here are 10 tips to help you manage your time better - use a few strategies, or use 'em all!

I highly recommend you take a breath and reflect on these. They might just help!

1. Focus on what needs to be done

Prioritise! I know it seems like a super-fun idea to check your Facebook, or watch that cat video, but writing your thesis should probably be the first port of call.

‘OMG, my thesis is what’s making me feel overwhelmed!’ I hear you cry. Yes, I understand that.

What I'd suggest is, instead of looking at the thesis as a giant insurmountable task, change your concept of it to be a set of smaller, manageable tasks. How? By, assessing what NEEDS to be done first. Things that don't need to be done? Don't do them!

For example, if you don't need to learn SPSS right now, don't. This doesn’t mean you’ll never learn it, but that you are prioritising. Is the motivations section of Chapter 1 most important right now? If not, don’t do it. Yes, you will get to these in time but, right now, to manage those feelings of being overwhelmed, focus on what absolutely needs to be done.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Putting your event on La Trobe researchers’ radar! (Lise Leitner)

Photo by Hello I'm Nik | unsplash.com
If you are a graduate researcher, organising a university event for the first time can seem intimidating.

Organising something within and for your local research community, however, is a great way to gain leadership experience. You get to meet new and different people in your research discipline, and share knowledge.

That’s what initiatives like the Intellectual Climate Fund are for, so you can create these projects AND get some help and funding along the way!

So, once you’ve got the key event elements locked down, how do you make sure people will actually show up? Where do you go to promote your event?

I get asked these kinds of questions all the time as a communications professional working at La Trobe. Luckily, I can provide you with some tips and answers!

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Did you know about the post-submission blues? (Laena D'Alton)

Photo by Kelly Sikkema | unsplash.com
I used to think that the high point of my PhD journey would be submitting my thesis.

I would dream of celebrations (involving cake), and a massive high that I could ride into the next stage in life.

I’d never considered that anything other than sheer joy and satisfaction would follow completing what feels like a mammoth task.

Now, I know to prepare with a more realistic perspective. While this dream may be a reality for some students, I have learned that this is not everyone’s experience. Sometimes, students can be overwhelmed by ‘post submission blues’, including pessimism, worry, anxiety, sadness and depression.

I’m still pre-submission so I can’t talk from personal experience but I'm grateful to my peers who candidly shared with me their post-submission challenges and joys. I feel I can much better prepare for life post-submission.

I hope this post prompts other students to engage in such conversations, too.