The first six months after you begin your doctorate is a good time to look at professional development as you’re getting your footing and there’s more of a focus around that time on planning and getting started.
I sat with my supervisor and talked about my training needs and then I just looked around to see what I could find. I booked myself onto courses here and I found external ones too. I kept a note of everything I did on SAMIS, as it was really helpful to have a record to look back on.
All of it has been really good experience and practice, and in so many different ways. The public engagement work in particular has helped me to feel confident - knowing how to talk to people.
A day or half a day here and there is easy enough to do. I did blogging, I organised PGA events like film nights, I got involved in running ‘Ignite Your Mind’ and I was the student organiser of the Qualitative Research Symposium.
Doing the Doctoral Skills courses was also great way to build my skills and to meet people – really useful if you’re not part of a research group. It was a really good way to meet people in other departments as well - especially those who were struggling with similar issues. It was good to realise that other people feel the same way as you.