Work-life balance and the doctoral journey

When I logged into my blog to write this post I found a draft I started in December, which was meant to be a reflection of the first six months of my PhD candidature, I now find myself a year into it at the end of this week leaving that six monthly reflection hanging as too much other ‘stuff’ or life got in the way!


This week I will be the #RoCur for the @WeSpeechies handle on twitter, which is indeed an honour and pleasure to be doing and of course lots of fun! I’m doing this not because I profess to be an ‘expert’ PhD student but because I am travelling this road whilst doing life at the same time, it’s all part of the journey. I’m going to borrow from the #SLP2BChat now and use the nice analogy they used recently for their chat about ‘keeping plates spinning’. I have multiple plates that are constantly spinning, many often lose their momentum and look like they are going to fall off the stick, in fact some do! I am doing my PhD full-time by distance whilst working a day/week in academia and my partner (who works full-time) and I have two young children, one at school and one in kinder. Life is full to say the least!


But there’s more than one way to do a PhD and I am interested in how others navigate this journey whilst trying to maintain some balance in their lives, what sorts of things do you have to juggle and how do you do it? How do you attain that magical work-life balance whilst studying? I am interested to hear the experiences of all, whether your PhD journey was in the past and you now supervise others on their own path, if you’re currently on your own journey or actively thinking about starting your PhD journey. Mine was 7 years in the making, thinking out the logistics, timing, finances, topic, supervisors etc.


I love being a speech pathologist and I care about the profession and its future, hence the topic for my PhD which has a clinical education focus. Since commencing my candidature last year I have become more of an active Twitter user and have connected with other PhD scholars, past, present and future both in speech pathology and from other fields. I have found a wonderful resource in Twitter with fantastic individuals and great communities of support at my fingertips, which has in part helped me keep my plates spinning. A number of these I will refer to in my week as @WeSpeechies curator, such as @thesiswhisperer and @ThomsonPat who at times have posted great pieces about maintaining a work/life balance whilst doing a PhD. Two #SLPeeps who I have connected with in Twitter and have unbeknownst to them perhaps have provided me with great motivation and some of the best support are @speech_woman and @BronwynHemsley.- @WeSpeechies administrators. So it’s with great pleasure I enter into my week of curation of the @WeSpeechies handle to talk about all things related to balancing life and the PhD journey!