PhD holiday conundrum

Being a PhD student often creates the illusion that holidays are a luxury reserved for others, overshadowed by the ceaseless pursuit of academic goals.

The perpetual internal dialogue of falling behind on numerous tasks tends to drown out the notion of a well-deserved break. In this post, we delve into the intricate world of holiday dynamics for doctoral students, unraveling the benefits, potential pitfalls, and optimal strategies for taking a meaningful hiatus, just in time for the summer break.

A common thread binds PhD students together – a palpable sense of guilt and unease when considering stepping away from the relentless academic grind. Reports from universities echo this sentiment, revealing that doctoral students often underutilise their allocated holiday time, prompting institutions to advocate for a fuller embrace of these breaks.

While some unis prescribe an annual PhD break, interpretations of this hiatus vary widely among students, ranging from clandestine thesis work to complete disconnection. Adding to the confusion, each university imposes its rules on a PhD student's status and corresponding holiday entitlements. The perennial question persists: Should one take a break, or is it wiser to capitalise on the lull in emails and meetings to advance the thesis?

Armed with the understanding that holidays can be beneficial, the focus shifts to the optimal way to structure and embrace these breaks. Insights from research and doctoral advice literature offer valuable guidance. From planning a ‘light load’ week before holidays to engaging in activities that promote psychological detachment from work, there are many ways we can take a much-needed break. What are your plans for the summer break? What are you looking forward to the most?

Wishing everyone a rejuvenating and enjoyable summer break!

Tagged in What messes with your head, phd, holidays, summer, summer break