With university classes starting back this week, I thought it would be an idea to give a perspective on what it is actually like being a psychology doctoral student.
Without stating the obvious, it’s hard work, it requires advance commitment and plenty of sacrifices. All in all though, it is totally worth it, my journey so far has been one of skill acquisition, self-development and expansion in learning.
When thinking of what to write for university courses starting back, I was thinking of what I would have wanted to know before I started this journey.
Understanding a day in the life of a psychology doctoral student would have been great to have had, so this is what I aim to deliver to you here:
- Wake up (I am an early riser and always have been) – at this time I either head to the gym (and if not then ill go later in the day) or I start some reading in my flat (usually looking at articles in prep for classes or assignments).
- Breakfast and coffee (again, if I haven’t been to the gym).
- Heading into uni (to study or work at my job as a researcher and seminar tutor).
- Begin study/work (I usually will be in university at this time every day, whether I am studying, working or if I have classes that day).
- Every day is different on a doctoral course. This year a lot of my time will be taken up with placment, so there will be days that i will be in a psychology or therapy centre all day.
- Social media time – I normally set aside time to keep my twitter and other social media account that I use for networking up to date. I have found this to b really beneficial and recommend spending some time on this every day for those keen to network in the field of psychology. Mid-morning is also a good time for me to stay up to date with my YouTube and website work. By this time I have already done quite a bit of work so I can spend time doing some extra things.
- I normally have a working lunch where I continue working at my job, or on my studies for classes and assignments.
- Staying on top of work consistently has been the key to succeeding on a psychology doctorate I have come to learn.
- During the afternoon I try and do something a little different rather than reading articles like I have been doing in the morning. However, I still might have a look at one or two.
- I might read a book (primarily focused on psychology and/or therapy).
- I might watch some YouTube videos on the same topics (I have actually found this to be a really engaging form of learning).
- I also use some time in the afternoon for planning. I will think out some strategies and ideas for future assignments and/or make sure I have all the information together that I need for my log book or other data I need to collate for the course.
- I will likely leave the university around this time and either head home (if I haven’t been to the gym yet), or head to the gym.
- The gym is a really big part of my day, I have found it a necessity for me to clear my head and maintain some focus for the coming day’s work.
- I’ll normally head home around this time post gym and get dinner
- Depending on how busy I am and how much work I still have to do, I might do a little bit of extra work in the evening, or I will just chill out with my wife and watch some TV.
I know that this schedule seems a bit hectic and full on, and in truth it is. I have found that understanding what I do each day better really helps with planning and getting the most out of my day. I make a priority of staying organised over everything else and this really has paid off. I plan my day out in such a way that I have enough time to get tasks done and that I don’t spend too long on one job, I like to mix things up a bit.
Hopefully, this layout has given you a better understanding of what it’s like to be on a psychology doctorate. It’s a challenging road but one I have no regrets in taking.