This post is of a more personal nature than most, but I would still like to write about this. Last September I took a course called ‘Achieving your goals and performing more successfully in your PhD‘ (a serious contender for the longest-course-name-ever-awards). Among other things, the course had us thinking of potential threats to getting our PhD-degree in the given time. The first thing that came to my mind was the thought of my supervisor leaving me. And guess what, that totally happened: my PhD supervisor left me!
This weekend one of the students that is working on a MSc-thesis project related to my project asked me: ‘What’s it like to be a PhD-student?’. While there is no clear-cut answer for this and this probably varies wildly between fields, countries and departments, I would still like to reflect on my own experiences in this post. I am now officially one year into my PhD (out of four here in the Netherlands) and this is what it’s been like so far:
The noble art of preparing for a scientific meeting is perhaps not the most exciting skill in your career, but fruitful meetings are definitely an important component of a successful PhD project. This week I flew to Leeds to visit the Virtual Pathology team with my medical project partners. So, an anatomist, a surgeon and a pathologist walk into a meeting room… This doesn’t sound like the start of a great joke, so I’ll stop myself right there. What I would like to discuss in this blog post however are some tips for having successful meetings. In your PhD there will be many meetings to be had, so you might as well make the most of them. Of course there are several types of meetings: the regular meetings with your supervisory team to discuss your progress and plans, meetings with your project partners to discuss project progress and then there are meetings with other scientists to discuss the possibilities for collaborations.
I’ve been playing around with HabitRPG for a little over a month now, so as promised: my HabitRPG review! My initial impressions and description can be found in my previous post, but this post is a more in-depth review after a month of use. I backed the Kickstarter shortly after trying it out for a while and there have been a lot of updates since (not only due to my contribution, I’m sure 😉 ). The creator, Tyler Renelle, is obviously very passionate about HabitRPG and it really shows. Here’s my rundown of the things I love and the things I’m not too happy with. Let’s start with a short visual tour and after that I’ll get on with the review:
A while ago I wrote the first part of a series of posts on scientific presentation tips to present your research in a memorable and interesting way. In part 1, I described the preparation process, now it’s time for the actual presentation giving: what to do, what to wear and other convenient tips.
I thought it would be nice to discuss one of the ‘golden oldies’ of e-mail overload countering here: Inbox Zero and my modifications to Inbox Zero Redux. It’s been a while since this approach was introduced by Merlin Mann (an e-mail wizard name if I’ve ever heard one), 7 years already, but I still try to get my inbox to zero e-mails daily. And actually succeed most of the times. It might be a different story if suddenly start receiving hundreds of e-mails every day, but for now, this is working well for me.
In this post I’d like to give you some scientific presentation tips to present your research well. Over the years as a student and now PhD candidate I’ve given many a presentation and had many a course on giving good presentations. In my first couple of presentations I was a complete nervous wreck and could barely breathe, later on this ‘evolved’ into smiling during the entire presentation combined with (bad) improvisational jokes and now I can even state I actually look forward to preparing and giving presentations. I’d have to say the course I’ve learnt the most from was definitely ‘The Art of Presenting Science’ by the awesome Gijs Meeusen and his team, so some of the tips I’m writing about, I picked up there. I cannot recommend this course enough, so do try and take it somewhere if you’re able to. If you’re not,
I believe Veronika will do a nice write up about this course at some point (edit: She did and it’s glorious! Check it out here!) . This post will describe phase one in the presentation giving process: the preparation. Whether you’re presenting for your research group, at a conference or elsewhere, always be prepared 🙂
For the past five months I’ve been in the luxurious position(s) of having the option to do my work while standing when I feel like it. This is all thanks to the pleasant people at my work that arranged a special standing desk for me. I think it’s a good time for a review of my standing desk experiences. In this post I will describe the benefits I’ve personally experienced as well as the disadvantages and some tips and tricks.
Is gamification a suitable technique for maintaining motivation and momentum in your PhD? While I dislike buzzwords like these a lot, I think gamification has great potential in many applications. I guess most people are familiar with the success of Stack Overflow, a well-known example of gamification done right, but can techniques like these be successfully applied to everyday activities as well?
This blog used to be hosted as a TU Delft weblog, but today I successfully moved out of there! I imported the posts and comments from the old location and relocated here, so nothing is lost. There were a couple of major issues I had with the TU Delft weblog service that were really starting to get on my nerves: