Written by Dr Katryna Kalawsky
Today (May 18th 2020) is the start of Mental Health Awareness Week; a national campaign hosted by the Mental Health Foundation. This year’s theme is ‘Kindness’; something that’s always important, but perhaps more so during the current circumstances . To mark and promote Mental Health Awarness Week, we thought it would be helpful to our online doctoral community to revisit some of the fantastic and kind advice shared during the Twitter Chat that took place during the Doctoral Wellbeing Week back in March 2020 (goodness how long ago does that seem now with everything that has happened since?!).
The Doctoral Wellbeing Week Twitter Chat involved @LboroDocCollege (follow us on Twitter!) asking those with doctorates at Loughborough University in various Schools and Professional Services (see list at the bottom of this blog post of those who took part) the following questions:
- Reflecting on your career journey to date, has undertaking a doctorate been beneficial?
- Why are doctoral researchers important to Loughborough University?
- What did you enjoy most about your doctoral experience?
- Reflecting on your experiences, what was the most challenging aspect of your doctorate and why?
- How did you overcome this challenge / what would you differently to deal with this challenge if you could go back in time?
- What was the best piece of advice that you received during your doctorate?
- What was your favourite/most effective way of taking time out during your doctorate?
- What wellbeing support is available to doctoral researchers internal and external to Loughborough University?
- What motivational/take home message(s) can you share with our doctoral researchers?
The Twitter Chat had several aims that related to the Doctoral College’s 3 V strategy (value, vitality and visibility):
- To highlight the importance of doctoral researchers to Loughborough and beyond
- To raise awareness of (and normalise – i.e. ‘it’s not just me’) common challenges faced by researchers during their doctorate
- To raise awareness of internal and external support available to doctoral researchers at Loughborough
Ultimately and importantly, the Twitter Chat had a positive focus. That is, it focused on providing advice to enable our researchers to thrive during the doctoral journey and not survive!
Throughout Mental Health Awareness Week, responses to each question will be shared via separate blog posts. To follow the actual conversation on Twitter, search #LboroDRWellbeing (the Twitter Chat took place on 5th March 2020).
Please feel free to share your thoughts and advice to our doctoral researchers via the blog comments box or via Twitter. After all, one of the many aspects of ‘kindness’ is about taking time out for others.
- Dr Manuel Alonso – Associate Chief Operating Officer // Director of Student Services
- Dr Ash Casey – Senior Lecturer in Pedagogy (School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences)
- Dr Ksenia Chmutina – Senior Lecturer in Sustainable and Resilient Urbanism (School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering)
- Dr Janine Coates – Lecturer in Qualitative Research Methods (School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences)
- Dr Sophie Crouchman – Senior Planning Officer (Planning Office)
- Dr John Harrison – Reader in Geography (School of Social Sciences and Humanities)
- Dr Katryna Kalawsky – Doctoral Researcher Development Officer (Loughborough Doctoral College and Centre of Academic Practice)
- Professor Elizabeth Peel – Professor of Communication and Social Interaction (School of Social Sciences and Humanities) // Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Loughborough Doctoral College)
- Dr Ksenija Kuzmina – Lecturer Institute for Design Innovation (Loughborough University London)