Scratch Your Itch

If I’m ever asked to give general advice for PhD candidates I suggest that they find some way to scratch their itch:

Find a nice little side project to your main research, something that might use your skills, talents or knowledge in a slightly different way. Find something that makes you smile to work on it. Find something perhaps even unconnected to your research but which helps you to make something or do something that helps others. If all it does is help you balance out your normal work time, then it’s time well spent.

There’s a place for itch-scratching in viva prep too. Make notes on the favourite parts of your thesis. Find interesting papers to read and challenge yourself with. Have coffee with friends to talk about the last few years or perhaps have a mini-viva. Even incentivise your prep with some kind of fun reward.

All of these sorts of things have a place in helping you get ready.

What could you do? What have you been putting off? What could you use to both scratch an itch – A new project? Answering a question to keep you thinking? Presenting your work? – and help you get ready?