Finishers’ Wisdom: Tip #7 – Life Goes On During the Thesis

Recent doctoral thesis finishers Emma Kelly and Wendy Moore got together at the latest AUT Postgraduate Writers’ Retreat to collate their 10 top tips for working on a PhD thesis. ThesisLink is publishing their insights over two weeks in our latest blogging event: Finishers’ Wisdom! Enjoy.

Tip #7: Doing a thesis doesn’t put the rest of your life on hold.

Things will happen that need to be managed including family members being sick, big life-changing events and celebrations too. You supervisor isn’t there to counsel you, but they do need to know what’s going on.


Your thesis can’t always be your top priority. Don’t pretend everything is fine if it’s not. Negotiate with your supervisor if you need to. They’ll figure out something’s happening anyway, so better to keep the communication going.

The Tip: Don’t ignore the major events in life; they won’t wait until after graduation. Tell your supervisor when you need support.


About Anaise Irvine

Dr Anaise Irvine is the Editor of Thesislink and leads the Researcher Education and Development team at Auckland University of Technology. Her PhD research analysed how contemporary films and novels represent genetic engineering as a social justice issue. These days she works with researchers at all levels to improve their research skills, and the most obscure of her own research skills is being able to turn novels into phylogenetic trees!

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