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Researcher Development

Researcher Development

Community and environment

Being a research student can sometimes feel quite isolating; you are working on a long and complex project that, for many, involves a lot of time working on your own. You may spend time away from home on field work; you may spend hours and hours working in a lab or buried in archives; you may find yourself sitting at home or in the library, staring at your computer and willing more words onto the page.

But although some of your work has to be accomplished alone, that doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. Even if you are someone who doesn’t like to work in an office space, with other people around you, and is most productive when working in isolation, outside of your research it is very important to build a sense of community.

You can download a transcript of this audio.

Although finding support and solidarity from other research students is really important, it can also be vital to have a community outside of academia. If you are new to the city and/or university and so don’t know anyone outside your own department, joining a society can be a really good way to meet people who have nothing to do with your research degree! The Freshers’ Fair isn’t just for eighteen year olds, so you can always go along to that in September. Otherwise, if you look on the Societies page, you’ll see quite how many different societies Exeter has to offer – from political activism to signing in a choir, performing arts to the Cheese Society…

Your physical environment can have a big impact on both your productivity and your wellbeing. We asked research students to share some pictures of their desk spaces with us.

How could you pimp your desk space?

You can download an alt-text version of this slideshow.

It is really important that you work in a way that takes care of your physical body. To make sure you have got your work space set up in a way that minimises the impact of office work on you physically, have a look at the university’s guidance for setting up your work station, and complete their self-assessment, a checklist for staff and students to use to ensure that workstations are set up correctly to reduce the risk of pain and ill health.

You could also incorporate some Yoga at Your Desk into your working day.

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