Managing competing pressures

  • Try to figure out how you work best and organise accordingly – if you’re a bit of a night owl and are really productive at night, crack on! If you need a strict regime of three hours work a day, then do that. There’s no set way of doing university; it’s all about exploring what works for you.
  • Unless you’re completing a part-time PhD, it is not usually acceptable to take on extra, regular, paid employment because of the demands of the study. The main exception to this is teaching undergraduates at the University. Some departments will have an expectation placed on their PhD candidates to teach, but in others you will have to seek out such an opportunity yourself. Either way, you should be paid for this work.
  • The competing pressures you will face throughout your next few years are increasingly difficult. This will give you a taste of life in academia should you want to pursue that route of work.
  • If you adapt to a routine, then you can usually afford guilt-free allotments of time to yourself at the weekend or in the evenings, for example. These pockets are invaluable for your wellbeing.
  • You may find it useful to treat your PhD like a job. You can afford to be flexible should a deadline necessitate it, but it’s helpful to impose a good structure on your work day.
  • Top tip: combine your vacation with conferences. If you’re lucky enough to travel abroad for a conference, extend your time there to include some holiday!
  • Ask questions – about anything, anytime.
  • When things get tough, there’s plenty of support available:

SU Advice Centre – 024 7657 2824 (

Disability Services – 024 7615 0641 (

University Counselling – 024 7652 3761 (

Nightline – 024 7652 2199 / 024 7641 7688 (

Chaplaincy – 024 7652 3519 (

On-Campus Health Centre – 024 7652 4888

Security – 024 7652 2083