Doing a PhD can be lonely work. It's good to build around you a circle of PhD confidants who you can share your concerns with and learn from. I have one friend from my university (you know who you are!) who uses the same methodology as me. I have found writing to her on an ad-hoc basis to share concerns and advice very comforting. Also, I live in a vibrant house-share of young professionals who keep me sane socially. However, for more specific PhD advice and to help get my head around the confusing world of academia, I've found three blogs invaluable. I thought I'd share them with you here.
This blog is not much to look at, but it has quite a cult following among PhD students from a variety of disciplines. It's ability to speak to PhD students and early career researchers from different departments and different walks of life is really an achievement. From this blog you'll get writing advice, motivational advice, career advice, financial advice and pretty much anything else you can think of. If you haven't tried this blog yet go ahead and check it out. It is essential reading!
I love this blog for three reasons: 1) it is very positive, 2) the author loves to encourage people to get writing and 3) the author believes in work-life balance. This author managed to give birth to twins during her PhD and still live through to tell the tale with a job on the other side of it. She is no-nonsense and non-pretentious, and I value those qualities in an academic! Give it a read if you need a motivational pick-me-up.
This is a new one for me, but I signed up on Feedly (my RSS reader) immediately. Patter is just really useful. She provides grammar and writing tips as well as useful advice on things like what to do after your viva, and where the blind spots may be in your writing. After all these years, it seems I've still got lots to learn about writing well and Patter is a great place to start. Consider her an additional thesis writing companion.
And as a bonus, I am thankful to Laura Christie of RHUL for introducing me to this TED Ed video about the deathly danger of over-using nominalisations. You will hang your head in shame when you realise how often you use these to the detriment of the readability of your writing. Enjoy!
What blogs have you found useful and encouraging in your PhD life? Feel free to add it in a comment below.