Tag Archives: Academic Writing

My 2013 PhD Resolutions

So the New Year is upon us, so there is no better time to thrash out what I hope to acheive throughout the year (in an informal, non-official way!)

1) Publish!!!
Boring I know, and this isn’t really a new resolution (and is probably part of 99% of PhD students resolutions) but I think it is important nonetheless!  I had a fairly good year for publications in 2012; with 1 paper as a lead author and a further 3 as  co-author (not too bad for the year where I transitioned from an honours student to a PhD student).  If I was setting myself a target, I would like to at least maintain that rate (so another 4 papers this year), with at least 2 of those as the lead author.  I’m also trying to forage into writing a review (slightly intimidating giving my opinion on a body of literature that has been worked on for several decades!) so it should be interesting!

2) Interact more with the public!
I guess this resolution was the reason for me starting this blog!  As PhD students we are often required to give presentations to other academics (either in-house or at conferences), but we don’t often interact with the public!  So my second resolution is to get more messages out there to the public in plain English…either electronically or through outreach programs!

3) Learn how to teach properly
Last year, I took a lead role in helping with demonstrating in a couple of units at the university – ‘Marine Systems’ and ‘Ecological Processes’.  I found it fantastic, and it’s definitely true that to teach something, you need to know it inside out!  I’ve been lucky enough to be granted a Postgraduate Teaching Internship for 2013 at UWA, a scheme that gives postgraduates some intensive training and allows them to teach (including giving lectures) in a couple of units through the year.  I’m hoping to post all the teaching materials I come up with on this blog, so watch this space!

4) Take more photos in the field!
Every time before I head out in the field, I pack my camera and tell myself that I will make an effort to take lots more photos, and it never happens!  So this year, I am resolving to actually make use of the underwater camera when I pack it!  More specifically, I need to take more photos of me and the rest of the gang doing our work in the field….it’s only when you are asked for some photos of yourself in the field that you realize you have an aversion to being in front of the lens!

5) Have more confidence in myself!
Pretty much do what it says on the tin!  Not that I’m an insecure person, but I guess building confidence in yourself as a scientist is something you should aim for every year during your PhD as you transition from a student to an early career researcher (all going well).

6) Brush up on my ecological theory by reading some seminal ecology papers!
I read….I read alot!! It’s part of the job after all; you need to find out what else has been done in your field of research, find a piece of evidence to support your argument or even find obscure methods to help you carry out an important experiment.  But, as a biogeochemist, I find that I don’t read enough of the classic,
theoretical ecology papers even though they really interest me, purely because I don’t really cite them.  So, this year I am going to make time to at least try to read one classic ecology paper a week!  Even if I get really, really busy………promise!

That’s all I can think of at the moment, I’m sure I’ll add more as time goes on, or if anyone else gives me any bright ideas!  As always, feel free to comment on anything I may have missed!

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