It’s September again, and we all know what this means. New starts, new students, new plans for the academic year ahead. For those of you on your second year or beyond, do you remember how it felt when you started your PhD? Is there anything you wish you had known you need before?

Today, some of our Committee members will answer the question: “If you could make a gift to your-1st year-self, what would it be?”

New PhD entries… take note!

Pss. if interested, give a look at our Call for new members!

Séveric Yersin – Contributions’ editor and Technical editor

Doing a PhD, whatever the discipline, implies a lot of sitting at a desk. This may sounds obvious, but as many have experienced during the numerous lockdown we went through, a kitchen table is not the best place to do serious writing or reading. I underestimated some aspects of this at the start, having only the few months of intense writing of my master’s thesis as a comparison. Now that I’ve spent many months, or even years, at my desk, I cherish the office chair I acquired a couple earlier this year. So my gift would be, without a doubt, a good chair and a proper desk. Definitely worth it!

Photo by Lee Campbell on Unsplash

Rachel Wilson-Lowe – Topical editor

If I could send a gift to my 1st PhD baby-self, it would probably be a gift basket with lots of selfcare goodies. I would send fancy bags of tea and bath bombs…maybe a cheeky bottle of red wine. But also the gift basket would be sure to have a gift care for buying books (both academic and guilty pleasure reading) and cute stationary/office supplies. For some reason, it really makes a difference writing up your field notes with pretty gel pens and color-coordinated notebooks.I know these gifts may seem a bit silly, but I think injecting a little fun and personality into the more mundane parts of being a PhD student has gotten me through some of the days when I wanted to throw in the towel!

Giovanna Pasquariello – Chair

If there is anything I wish I had at the beginning of my PhD, that would be the same cataloguing system as the Library of Congress at Washington. Just kidding. Sort of. New PhD students are not prepared to the amount of books, paperwork, notes, articles, handbooks, forms to handle throughout three or four years of research. Some of those documents can be stored as digital copies, but other cannot. I own at least four boxes full of paperwork of all kinds at date. I definitely need a bookcase in my new flat, as well as some folders. Hence the gift I would make to my 1st-year-self is a cute set of hardback folders, accompanied by the most complete collection of labels – to put everything under the right category. You’ll thank me later.

Photo by Viktor Talashuk on Unsplash

Listen to us, go and make yourself a gift!

Featured image by Antonio Janeski on Unsplash