Doctoral School

Christmas Break

Christmas is nearly upon us and for some this will mean staying on campus, and perhaps working towards doctoral related goals for the festive period, whilst others will be taking a well-earned break away. For those staying in Brighton International Student Support have put together a useful guide to the festive break, detailing opening times for campus facilities, and activities taking place in Brighton and beyond during this quiet time on campus.

Through our Researcher Development Programme we talk a lot about the importance of maintaining good work-life balance, but for many there is the temptation to work through the festive period. The idea of taking some time out often leading to immediate feelings of guilt! However, it is important to take a break, even if this can only be short:

  • To stop and reflect, to review how things have gone this term and take stock of where you are. This is helpful for checking you are on the right path, and for refining your plans for the next year
  • Time out allows you to rest your brain, recharge, refresh and be ready and motivated to get back to work in January
  • A break provides a chance to catch up with those friends and family who will be important in helping you through challenging times in your research
  • For those staying on campus, this is a good time to explore the local area and take part in some activities in the city which you may not have time for at other points in the year

All obvious points we know, but they can be easy to forget and put into action with the pressures that undertaking a doctorate can bring!

Check out GradHacker on ‘How to cope when work follows you home’ and how to balance all your hard work with activities that help you to maintain your energy and enthusiasm for your research. If you’re interesting in further strategies for balancing work and other parts of your life ‘The balanced researcher’ also offers some helpful insights (Sussex is a member of Vitae so you can register to download this publication with your Sussex email address).

Before taking a break of any length, it’s a good idea to plan what you intend to do on your return. It can take a while to remember exactly where you were in your research which can create stress, so making some detailed notes will help you to quickly get back into the swing of things. See the ithinkwell website for some useful free template and planners for managing your doctorate.

And finally, those that celebrate Christmas, might like to check out the Thesis Whisperer’s ‘What to buy your favourite PHD student for Christmas’ for friends and family wanting some helpful suggestions!

We hope you can enjoy a well-earned break, and we will be back in touch in the New Year.

The Doctoral School

Doctoral School

E: doctoralschool@sussex.ac.uk
T: 00 44 (0)1273 87 7767