The PhD Chronicles – 1 Month In

Ok, I’m more like two months in, but here are my main thoughts at the moment:

  • I have A LOT of reading to do
  • I have A LOT of techniques to learn
  • I have A LOT of names to remember

*brain explodes*

I typed in 'brain explodes' and Google produced this glorious image - Kittens make everything better! - via

I typed in ‘brain explodes’ and Google produced this glorious image – Kittens make everything better! – via

I’ve been busy laying the groundwork in the lab; organising, cleaning, tidying up and lots of ordering. I’ve also been generally finding out how things work in a new building; what seminars to go to, who’s in which group and trying to remember a lot of names. PLUS reading and writing of course!

I still feel like a bit of newbie, especially as my lab group is quite small and I’m often flitting around doing my own thing and off on other campuses to see talks and other labs. I’m also at the stage where I need quite a lot of help with pretty much everything. Most of the techniques I’m using are entirely new to me, so I’m relying heavily on other people to teach me. This is definitely part of the process, but I can’t wait to manage my own time and experiments.

I have also been savouring the enjoyment of reading about my project. I know things are going to get pretty hectic later, but at the moment I have time to read broadly about my proposed research area, most of which is pretty new to me (by new to me, I pretty much mean I haven’t encountered this one group of proteins before…).


I really am working, I swear!

I’m already finding myself fighting against the temptation to compare myself to others. I started my PhD in December, which is a bit of an odd time, but I still find my mind drifting into comparing what I’m doing to other 1st year PhD’s. This is definitely a habit I know I’m liable too so I have to keep it in check. Every PhD is different, that’s kind of the point!

I’m keen to get off to a good start, so I’m starting to write a review of the literature surrounding my project (with EndNote…), which can make up some of the introduction to my 1st year report. I hope to finish this by April, get it read over, perhaps make some improvements and know I’ve accomplished something before my holiday!

So yes, I’ve already booked my big holiday for the year. I’m really excited as I love seeing different parts of the world and it gives me a handy milestone to work towards as it’s about 6 months into my PhD.

Look out for my next PhD Chronicles blog at the 6 month mark, in around May this year.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this window into the thoughts of a new PhD researcher.

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