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A summer in the life of a PhD student

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A summer in the life of a PhD student

As you read in my update post, summer was busssssyyyyyy. By next month, I should be back to posting monthly life updates, but I thought it would be better if I combine the last few months!


  • I began redrafting my probation report. SURPRISE, SURPRISE – there were many spelling mistakes!
  • I continued transcribing archive documents–something I’ve learnt this year is that THIS TAKES FOREVER.
  • I dislocated my knee (not work-related but it definitely impacted it!).
  • I wrote a piece for the brilliant First 100 Years project. Check it out here.
  • I worked on a paper for an upcoming August conference.


  • I continued redrafting my probation report. Told you it took me FOREVER!
  • Ditto, transcribing.
  • Ditto, PhD reading.
  • I also directed a panto:

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  • I also attended and presented at the wonderful annual WHN conference in Portsmouth. It was such a wonderful event, full of super interesting papers and a suffragette sing-a-long.

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  • I attended and chaired a panel at the CLC conference. Weirdly, chairing a panel was super stressful and nerve-racking! Almost more so than delivering a paper!
  • I prepped for AND PASSED MY MINI-VIVA! EEEEEEK! This means that I was upgraded to PhD status and my research was approved. Cue celebrations:
  • Alongside this, I did more academic reading, transcribed more documents, and emailed archives.

SO, I’ve had the most amazing first year as a PhD student. It’s been challenging at times, but always rewarding. I’m really looking forward to where my research goes in the next two years!

Laura Noakes (@lauranoakes) is a PhD student at the Open University School of Law. This story was published on October 1, 2018 on Laura’s blog, ‘The Portia Post’ (available here) and has been republished here with her permission.

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Published on: May 06, 2019

PhD student at the Open University
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