Centre for Doctoral Studies

Equipping research students to excel

Category: Community (page 1 of 2)

How to stay fit and active as a PhD student: Tips and advice from King’s Sport’s Alyx Murray-Jackman

Researching and writing a PhD takes a toll on the body as well as the mind. However, many PGR students often find that between labs, library sessions, supervisory meetings, teaching, and social or family life, there is little time left for exercise or other activities.

Nevertheless, taking time out of your research schedule to stay active is important. Not only does good physical health benefit your PhD research in the long-run, by ensuring you stay healthy and fit throughout the period of your course. Good physical health is also fundamental to good mental health.

Take Time Out – July 11th @ Guy’s Campus

The Centre for Doctoral Studies knows that taking time out of your work as a PGR student is easier said than done. That’s why this Summer we are organising a “Take Time Out” event on the 11th of July at Guy’s Campus. This event is designed specifically for PGRs and will include yoga, pilates, mindfulness workshops, and other fun activities, to help you re-focus on your physical and mental wellbeing.

You can book your place at this event here. You can register for as many – or as few – activities as you wish.  Even if you’re not sure about an activity, studies show that just taking a break from work can have longer term benefits for your health – so make sure to come for our PGR social reception that evening!

In the meantime, to help you stay active, within the confines of PGR life, we’ve got some helpful time-saving tips from King’s Sport’s, Alyx Murray-Jackman.

Tips on how to stay active in your own time

  • Take the stairs – often you’ll be quite happy to take the stairs when you’re at home, but as soon as you set foot in the university, taking the lift may become the norm. Think about taking the stairs more often and you’ll be surprised how quickly it becomes a habit.
  • Use the toilets further away – find some toilets in the next building along, or on another floor, and this way you’ll get more walking in during the day, so long as you’re keeping yourself well hydrated!
  • Cycle, run or walk to the lab or library – look at your usual commute into University on Google Maps or City Mapper, and see how long the journey would take you if you were to walk or cycle. For me, walking takes the same amount of time as getting the bus, and cycling is actually faster than getting the train, therefore I have no excuse to get public transport to work as being active saves time, money and is better for me. Maybe it will be the same for you! If you live too far away to get to work like this, then you could try walking to the next bus stop or station along the route and hopping on public transport there.
  • Make sure to leave the house! – if you work at home, make sure you set aside some time to leave your desk and see the outside world. This might only take 5 minutes, a trip to the shop or a walk around the block, but will keep you moving and prevent you from stagnating inside.
  • Set yourself a fitness based challenge for a month – there are lots of apps out there that you can use to challenge yourself to do more activity, such as 30 day ab or plank challenges. These provide an opportunity to do a short burst of activity each day that you can gradually build up over time. This might be challenging yourself to be able to do 20 burpees in a row by the end of the month, or holding a plank for 90 seconds, and you can gradually work up to this over the course of the month, only requiring a few minutes of practice each day.
  • Socialise with fitness classes – next time a friend asks to catch up over dinner or drinks, ask them if they would like to try out a new fitness class with you instead (you can always grab dinner afterwards too…!). It’s a great way to try a new activity and socialise with your friends too. You could try a new class in one of the King’s Sport gyms, could do another activity like bouldering, or could go on a bike ride together.

    Alyx Jackman-Murray from King’s Sport

King’s Sport also have lots of other opportunities to help you stay active:

  • We have some short 10-20 minute yoga videos on our YouTube channel
  • Our BeActive programme, which runs during Term Time only, so will be back up and running in October, is available to all students at King’s, and offers a range of activities all taking place on or close by to our campuses.
  • We’ve got gyms already at Waterloo and Guy’s campuses, and are opening a new one soon at Strand Campus At the moment you can get a 3 month membership for the summer for just £50, so pop into one of the gyms and chat to a receptionist to get signed up. Gym memberships include all studio classes and access to both gyms, so you can work out whenever and wherever is most convenient for you.
  • King’s Move is our online platform that rewards you for all the activity you do, and will hopefully encourage you to do more of the things I’ve listed above so that you get more steps in and collect more points.

Hopefully some of these little hints and tips will help you get started on a journey to being more active in your day to day life. These are just some of the changes that I’ve made in my life that are now habits, and have definitely had a positive impact on my wellbeing. If you’d like any more ideas or want to learn about the connection between physical activity and mental health you can read our Move Your Mind guide.

There is no need to try and implement all these changes into your life at once, so try to stick to one until it becomes a habit, and then move onto the next.

 

King’s Health Science DTC Annual Research Symposium: 5 reasons to sign up today

This year, the King’s Health Sciences Doctoral Training Centre is holding its inaugural Research Symposium on Monday 14 May 2018. 

This exciting one-day event will feature mini-masterclasses, speed networking, student talks, and a keynote lecture from one of King’s Health Sciences’ top academics, Professor Tim Spector. This Symposium is open to all King’s Postgraduate Research Students across the four Health Sciences faculties and registration is completely free.

This event is an excellent opportunity for early career researchers in the Health Sciences to meet with fellow research students, discover new research, create new scholarly and social networks, as well as to present their own work to peers and experts in their fields.

If that doesn’t convince you to register for the Health Sciences DTC Symposium, here are five more reasons why you should sign up today:

  1. Expand your scholarly network across disciplinary boundaries: this symposium offers you the chance to meet and get to know colleagues from other faculties following similar research themes.
  2. Kick-start your career with specially tailored sessions to boost your employability: you can attend workshops on careers, CV skills, academic writing, as well as more specialised sessions on CRISPR technology, and recombinant protein production.
  3. Public engagement: see and hear three of the King’s 2018 ‘Three Minute Thesis’ finalists talk about their PhD projects in just three minutes and discover what it takes to communicate your work in an impactful way in just 180 seconds!
  4. Present your own research and hone your presentation skills: all PGR students in the Health Schools are invited to submit an abstract before the 23rd of April to give a talk about the latest developments with your research project. This is not just a great chance to get the word out about your research, but to improve your public speaking and presentations skills too.
  5. VIP Keynote Speaker: come hear about the work of KCL’s renowned Professor Tim Spector, author of the critically acclaimed books The Diet Myth and Identically Different. Spector is Professor of Genetic Epidemoiology and Director of the TwinsUK Registry at King’s College London. A specialist in twin studies, genetics, epigenetics, and microbiome and diet, Professor Spector’s work is known worldwide.

How to Register 

Registration is free and open to all King’s PGR Students in the Health Sciences.

Click here to book your place. Registration will close on 9am on Monday 7 May.

Submit an Abstract

To submit your abstract to present at the HSDTC Symposium, please see the relevant section in the registration form and follow the instructions.

  • Monday 23 April: Deadline for abstract submission
  • Monday 30 April: Abstracts chosen by this date and speakers informed

 

Programme

  • 09:00 Registration and Coffee
  • 09:30 Mini-masterclasses
  • 11:30 Welcome from the Director of King’s Health Sciences DTC
  • 11:45 Three Minute Thesis Finalists
  • 12:00 Speed Networking
  • 13:00 Lunch
  • 14:00 Keynote: Professor Tim Spector
  • 15:00 Student Talks
  • 17:00 Drinks and canapés

For further information on the King’s Health Sciences Doctoral Training Centre, including news and training opportunities, click here. If you have any questions, you can email hs-dtc@kcl.ac.uk

 

Networking, or how to talk to about your research in the real world

Daniel Glaser is the Director of Science Gallery London at King’s College London, which connects art, science and health, driving real innovation in the heart of the city.

Daniel is a neuroscientist by training and joins King’s from the Wellcome Trust where he headed up their engaging science work. He was the world’s first scientist in residence at an arts institution at the ICA in 2002 and was the first scientist to judge the Man Booker prize in 2014. He writes a weekly column in the Observer Magazine.

Daniel Glaser, Science Gallery London

Daniel Glaser, Science Gallery London

He recently gave a sparkling and important talk on helping PhDs and other researchers to confront their fears about that dreaded activity: networking —  both for academic or other career purposes.

We have summarised the key points of his talk below:

  • You have to talk to people in terms that they will understand and make sense of! Can you get them to be thinking about what you want them to say, before you even meet them?
  • Be proud of your specialism! By the time you’ve got to the end of your PhD or other research, perhaps only 100 people in the world will understand the real niche that you have created for yourself. In effect, you are ‘being trained to be incomprehensible’, and that is something to be proud of! Own your narrowness.  You have to learn the language of your research, to be a good researcher.
  • Try this exercise: work with another researcher, and get them to explain their research to you. Now, find someone else to explain your colleague’s research to.  Examine the language that you used in that description. It is probably a whole lot simpler than your colleague would use themselves to describe their work.  Apply the same technique to yourself when you are trying to describe your research.
  • When you start networking, imagine the positive outcome that you are trying to get to. Then break down the process it will take to get there. If you need help understanding this point, read Getting Things Done by David Allen which provides solutions for people to manage their time more effectively.
  • One way to start networking is to share your work online. Use publicly available images (e.g. slides) that are professionally produced, to help you look good; crucially, what you’re trying to do is to seek feedback from people. If you’ve got something interesting to say, pop it onto YouTube! Creating content is in effect sharing.
  • In terms of networking for careers, read What Color is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles. What you want to do is to be able to ask people the question: ‘what does what I like doing look like where you come from?’  Using this question means they have to be interested in you, and also that they have to talk about themselves and their work.  You are not asking them for a job, just for information.
  • Find a talk in a domain you’re interested in (use KCL CareerConnect, or the Londonist, EventBrite or Meetup): go, and then talk to the people there. They must have something in common with you or they wouldn’t also be going to the talk.
  • Come up with an opening line (‘What brings you here?’; ‘What are you working on at the moment?’) and use it for everyone at the event that you can talk to. An achievable goal might be just talking to three people you didn’t know before you arrived.  Tag team with a friend and leave the event when you’ve achieved your goal.
  • Networking could, in fact, make your boss look good. If you go and talk sensibly with another academic, they will automatically be impressed that your research group (and by extension, your group leader) produces such good researchers.  Hence, PIs or supervisors should be pleased that you are finding opportunities to go and talk about your work.
  • Daniel will have coffee with anyone: including you! The Science Gallery will open summer 2018 and will be looking for ‘mediators’ to collaborate and engage with.

Get in touch with the Science Gallery at King’s College London and with Daniel here.

PhD Bloggers Wanted

Do you have a personal experience of PhD life you’d like to share with your peers?

Whether it’s dealing with writer’s block, tips and tricks for time management, or just your own unique perspective on the life of a postgraduate research student at King’s – we want to hear from you!

The Centre for Doctoral Studies is looking for contributions to its blog from research students at King’s, on a range of topics including, but not limited to:

  • Starting out as a PhD student
  • Life as an international student
  • Living in London
  • Cultural challenges
  • Time management
  • The writing-up process
  • Study skills and research methods
  • Creative approaches to research
  • The upgrade & Viva
  • Getting published
  • Teaching experience
  • Presenting at conferences
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Life outside the library/lab

This is a great opportunity to practice your communication and engagement skills as well as get your name and research out there. More importantly, sharing personal perspectives from current PGR students can offer other students valuable support and practical insight into the challenges and joys of working towards a doctorate.

To have a post featured on the Centre for Doctoral Studies blog, send your submissions or pitch your ideas to doctoralnews@kcl.ac.uk.

Please note, publication on the CDS blog is at the discretion of its editor. Submissions should not exceed 1000 words.

 

Older posts