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Guest Post: PhD hacks

This post was written by PhD candidates Hannah Carle (RSB) and Lauren Bezzina (RSPhys). It was originally published at https://rockdocpress.wordpress.com/2021/11/03/phd-hacks/


Doing a PhD is bloody hard. The academic challenge is immense, but so is the personal one. 

2019 survey by Nature showed that more than a third of PhD students seek help for anxiety or depression, but the incidence of poor mental health is likely close to double this number. Poor mental health is difficult and it impacts research productivity and our engagement as students.

But to get the best set of advice together, I have teamed up this month with a fellow PhD student Lauren Bezzina, who has spent four years getting the balance right. Below are 8 tips and tricks we have curated together to help other PhD students operate at the top of their game. 

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Bullet journalling your PhD

Tharika Liyanage (she/her) is a PhD candidate in the Paleobiogeochemistry group at RSES. She’s super curious about the early evolution of life and searches for fossilised molecules in ancient sediments to learn about microbial life in the distant past. In her spare time, you’ll find her at Questacon working as a science communicator or in her kitchen trying to figure out the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. You can find her on Twitter @thaliyanage.


During my PhD, I had to write regular reports to keep track of project progress. I struggled to write the first couple because when I flicked back through my lab book and calendar, I felt like I had done so little each day and achieved nothing over several months! In reality, I had been doing lots of little incremental things but I didn’t have a record of it. So that’s when I came across the Bullet Journal method.

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Rio +20 puts the case for more sustainable cities – is Australia ready?

By Kelly

Anders Hoff image sourced http://theconversation.edu.au

In case you have been in an environmental vacuum for the last week, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio +20, begins in earnest today. There is commentary abound as to what the tangible outcomes from the meeting will be, and whether there will be action beyond ‘aspiration’.

As scientists we try to understand how the earth system works. We are comfortable with monitoring and predicting how the Earth may respond to current human induced climate change, often with little thought of how this may translate into decision-making and implementable public policy. Fortunately we have people like Professor Barbara Norman attending Rio on our behalf this week.  I could wax lyrical about what an inspiring and courageous woman she is, but instead you can find out first hand through an excellent piece that she wrote for the “The Conversation” that is also being featured on SBS’s World News outlet. In the piece Barbara discusses  whether Australia can make its inevitable urbanisation more sustainable, and outlines a roadmap toward success. It is this roadmap, and others like it, that local leaders from around the world gathered together to discuss over the weekend in the lead up to today’s summit.

Continue reading “Rio +20 puts the case for more sustainable cities – is Australia ready?”

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