“December is the time for remembering the past and reaching toward the future”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

December is often a busy month – even more so than others!  The ending of the calendar year is a significant punctuation point and many people look to get projects finished as well as preparations for the range of celebrations that are happening.

It can be a very difficult time as a PhD researcher as you decide how to divide your time between your research and your other priorities.  When and how will you take time off?  What are reasonable expectations? 

If you are finding these challenges we have a couple of PhD Life Raft podcast episodes that might be useful- particularly advice about why it might be useful to NOT push yourself to finish everything before the holidays.

Managing the festive season as a PhD researcher: https://thephdliferaft.libsyn.com/milly

How to handle the holidays with Chloe Bradwell and Rachel Hopkin: https://thephdliferaft.libsyn.com/how-to-handle-the-holidays-take-2-with-chloe-bradwell-and-rachel-hopkin

A really important and instinctual element of this time of year is reflection and review as well as making plans for the year to come.  We tend to focus on new year resolutions and how we would like to make use of the fresh start of a brand new year.  The focus here can be very goal oriented, driving forwards, and we can miss out on the lessons learnt through reflection.

I would encourage you to also take some time to review the past year and to celebrate how far you have come.  Even if you feel you haven’t made the progress you want to have made – and that will probably be all of us! – you will be in a very different place than you were this time last year.  It can be really productive to take some time to map out the journey – the highs and lows – and identify what went well, as well as things you would like to develop in the coming year. 

If you would like support in that reflective process you might want to join Allan Johnson and I for the PhD Plan-a-thon 2024!  As has become tradition, we will be leading a group of PhD Researchers through a creative programme that helps you to clarify where you are and think about creating concrete plans for the year ahead.  The PhD Plan-a-thon runs from 8th  to 12th January 2024 and I will be sending out more information nearer the time but you can click here if you would like to find out more.

Wishing you a wonderful December with recognition for all that has been and hope for all that is to come!