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Support and Wellbeing

Coping With Stress During a PhD

Embarking on a postgraduate research degree can be a demanding and often overwhelming period for students. PhD student Sreyashi tells us how she deals with stress and anxiety during the doctoral process.

Student studying in the Quad

Attaining a degree as prestigious as a doctoral one might sound very attractive but surely, it can be no less scary than a roller-coaster ride. While a degree like a PhD can be a huge boost to your career and therefore has its own perks, it definitely comes with a cost.

Struggling with constant failure, imposter syndrome, lacking self-worth, poor time management, improper eating habits and lack of proper sleep are just some of the many challenges we go through every day. Thus, the impact of these on your mental health is tremendous and can pose serious problems.

The Wellbeing Room in the Main Site Tower

Avail of the Student Wellbeing service at Queen's

Hello, I am Sreyashi, a PhD student at the School of Biological Sciences. As I am almost about to finish the first year of my PhD degree, I can very well say that going through some of the above challenges while having to produce effective results made me really anxious.

Furthermore, being an international student, I had my own challenges. Adjusting to a new environment and managing my living budget while dealing with the rising expenses were some of the additional factors that caused me a lot of stress.

Luckily, from engaging in body fitness, leisure sports and cultural activities, to just being able to have a good time at the SU bar with friends, Queen’s ensures that students can enjoy all kinds of recreational activities to deal with their stress.

Tasting event at the Graduate School

Fun social events such as local food tasting events at the Graduate School

Personally speaking, I was able to utilise a lot of benefits from Queen’s which provided me with support in various forms, thus helping me cope with stress during my current PhD studies.

So, I am here to pen down some of my own personal ways I deal with my stress which will hopefully be useful to some of you.

Leisure activities at the PEC

I believe as someone who works almost 9-5 every day sitting in the lab, a lot of the time our body gets overly tired and lethargic. So, a good way to get some of our active hormones going is engaging ourselves in some physical activity.

For me, there is no better place than our very own Queen’s PEC sports centre. I find it very convenient location wise as it’s just a few minutes’ walk from the major University locations.

Physical Education Centre

Give yourself a boost at the PEC

Apart from a very extravagant gym that has some of the best facilities in town, the PEC also has all kinds of sports activities. And even better? It is completely free for the students staying at Queen’s accommodation.

I really enjoy swimming and taking the karate lessons there as it helps me get a boost to keep my day going.

Multiple club activities at the SU

While some people would prefer to have some sort of recreation through physical activities, some prefer immersing themselves in the world of music or any sort of creative field as a form of stress management.

Queen’s University has various social clubs within the student’s union that students can join for free or for a very minimal cost (as low as £5 per year).  Being a music enthusiast , whenever I get some free time, I love to go to the music practice rooms at the Queen’s School of Music and play the piano there. I also got myself enrolled in the arts and painting club and really had a great time attending all their sessions. Honestly, doing activities like these really helps to calm my brain and have some sort of creative diversion. 

Practice room at the School of Music

Practice rooms at the Queen's School of Music

Wellbeing service at the SU

For students who are really struggling with their mental health, the wellbeing service offered by Queen’s at the SU is really helpful.

From discussing day to day struggles to more serious mental health problems, everyone can benefit from the wellbeing service.  The service is available 24/7 via telephone and at specific times at the SU. Here, students can feel much more comfortable discussing their issues without getting judged.  I feel such an initiative by Queen’s is a much needed one and it’s absolutely free.

Apart from all these, the Graduate School and the SU also organise various events such as picnics, research culture celebrations, pub-quizzes etc that can really help boost someone’s mental health.

Students at One Elmwood

Plenty of student social spaces at One Elmwood for students to hang out

Personally speaking, sometimes when work just got the best of me, attending such events really helped me to make new friends who shared the same kind of struggles as I did. Talking and sharing our individual experiences kept me motivated and helped to keep me going.

I would recommend every student of Queen’s to utilise such benefits to get a better grip on their stress management.

Lastly, having a proper sleep schedule and a well-balanced diet also made a huge positive impact on my day to day life.

Find out more

Queen's Student Wellbeing Service

More blogs about Postgraduate Research at Queen's

Find a PhD supervisor

The Graduate School

Sreyashi Acharjee

Biological Sciences| Postgraduate Research Student | India

I am a first year PhD student in the School of Biological Sciences at Queen's. Apart from my love of research, I am also someone who enjoys creating content for social media. Currently a Queen's student ambassador and a course representative, I love getting myself involved in various sorts of voluntary work and as an international student, even though I am still getting used to many things here, I would really be happy to extend my help to fellow students like me.

Sreyashi Acharjee