As this blog is focused around life as a PhD student – this week I thought I would run a ‘day in the life of me’
My PhD is in medical sciences and it is research based. I work with cell cultures so I can plan my work pretty well to fit in a 9-5 scenario (although I do end up working some weekends). As you may imagine no PhD is the same, even if they are within the same subject. Take my friend as an example – she works with live tissue (tissue that has been removed during surgery) so she needs to make frequent trips to the hospital for collection. As she is reliant on the tissue for her work, her hours can be very irregular and depend very much on when the tissue is available. If you are thinking about doing a PhD you need to be flexible about when you work and remember that things change over time – so you may spend 6 months working random hours but another 6 months working 9-5.
A day in the life of me
I started at 8.30 am – I went into the lab and ran an experiment until 9.30
9.30-11.00 I worked as a ‘reader/scribe’ for an undergraduate student that was taking an exam
11.00-12 I analysed some results, updated my lab book and had a chat with another PhD student
12-1 Lunch time!
1-2 I went back into the lab to look after my cell cultures
2-4 I was trained on using a new microscope and used it to take some pictures of the cells in the experiment I ran this morning
4-5 I updated my lab book / checked my emails
5-6 I went back into the lab to set up for an experiment tomorrow
One thing I love about doing my PhD that I have the freedom to plan what I want to do and when I want to do it (most of the time). I never do the same thing one day to the next. I run different experiments and learn something new. Some days I will plan not to run an experiment but take some time to read the literature and go over past experiments –if I am running a lot of experiments I can lose track of what I have already done! I think it is important to plan time to reflect, think and plan what to do next. I also make sure I plan to do other things that are not necessarily related to my project – but are of benefit to me. For instance – working as a reader/scribe, demonstrating in undergraduate labs or attending scientific talks that may be taking place at the university.