Life, Phd

The first month of the PhD: beginning to climb the mountain

So it’s been almost a month since I first started university as a PhD student. It’s been an incredibly busy month (by choice), with very few evenings spent at home doing nothing. I’ve found that there are an incredible amount of interesting events and opportunities to be involved in, if you want to.

I’ve signed up as a Challenge Leader for the Ice & Fire Trek to Iceland next summer through the university, raising money for the Children’s Society. The trek looks amazing, we’ll be hiking over mountains and glaciers, seeing icebergs, lagoons and mountains. I adored Iceland when I went two years ago, so I can’t wait to go back! As Challenge Leader I’ll be helping people with their fundraising (and fundraising for the charity myself) and making sure that everyone is happy and looking forward to the trek next August.

As far as my PhD work goes, I’ve been reading broadly within copyright law and European copyright law. My supervisors suggested I take this approach, and I’m very grateful for this advice. I’ve come across things I otherwise wouldn’t have found if I’d been too narrow (which is precisely what they predicted). I love my research area; it’s highly unusual to be able to spend so much time reading about an area that interests you. I won’t say any more on that here, but I’ll write a separate post about what I’ve been reading.

I’ve also agreed to give a short presentation at my faculty’s conference at the beginning of November on copyright law. I’m nervous to present my work at this stage, but I want to get in as much practice as possible. I’d rather get some constructive criticism now about my presenting skills, than in three years‘ time during my viva!

Socially, my first month has gone much better than I’d anticipated. I’d expected to be a solitary creature, lurking in the shadows as undergrads had all the fun. But this has not been the case! Several times after a long day in the office (8:30-7:00) I’ve been to the uni bar on site with my PhD buddies, all of us eager to unwind after spending the day focusing so intently on one thing. We usually go for lunch together, and chat in the mornings when we all arrive at the office.

We’ve been invited to lots of talks/ seminars by various academics presenting their work. They are all interesting, and I strongly recommend that you go to any talk offered to you. There’s always something that can relate back to your work in some way; and when I present I hope people will be interested enough to turn up, so I want to do the same.

Money-wise, the struggle is real. My studentship money gets back-dated, which is understandable, but most PhDs have put down at least one month’s rent as a deposit, as well as at least one month of living costs. Unfortunately, we receive the money after paying this out. Don’t let that put you off, but it’s worth remembering that even with a funded PhD, you want to make sure you have enough money saved up for a few months!

I hope the next month is as good as this one has been!

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