PhD Advice: Rachel Hallett, PhD in Psychology

     
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Watch our 6 quick fire questions with PhD student Rachel Hallett. Rachel has just completed her PhD in Psychology at Keele University.

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About this video

Watch our 6 quick fire questions with PhD student Rachel Hallett. Rachel has just completed her PhD in Psychology at Keele University.

Watch her video as she talks about what attracted her to do a PhD, and in this video reflects her PhD journey, as well as offering her top PhD tips!

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Transcript

 

TIME

SPEAKER

 

00:00:06

Rachel Hallett

Hi.  I’m Rachel.  I have just finished my PhD – literally, I had my viva a week or so ago – mine are cracking, so yes!   And I have a couple of small jobs that I do at the moment – I assist on a journal and I’m helping with some conference organisation, and when I’m not doing those, I am job-hunting.

00:00:28

Rachel Hallett

At the start of my PhD, I’d probably have told myself – ‘Now is the time that you have the most time free – make use of it to set up lots of systems, so you know where to find the papers that you’ve saved, and you know where you’ve put all the forms and the ethics approval letters and that kind of thing, and then when you get to the end of your PhD, you don’t spend lots of time trying to find where you’ve put them.’

00:00:54

Rachel Hallett

The thing that surprised me most when I started my PhD, but also the Masters and the degree I did before that, was having done a previous degree back, a very long time ago, before the days of social media, how much there was there on the web now that’s useful – the informal things like the blogs and the social media.  And also, when I first managed to access academic papers online – I’d previously

00:01:24

Rachel Hallett

had to look things up in directories and go through it all manually, so that was a big change this time around.

00:01:33

Rachel Hallett

The best bits about my PhD studies and the academic jobs that go around them – it’s so difficult to pick, to pick a small number.  It’s really the variety of the stuff – it’s being able to immerse myself in something that I’m really interested in.  With my research looking at music use in exercise, it was being able to ask nosy questions about what people had on their headphones while they were on treadmills and things like that.  I like being nosy.  It’s the variety, it’s

00:02:03

Rachel Hallett

the being able to engage with other people with the same interests.  There’s just so much going on – it’s such a lively area to be in, so choosing just a few, a few things is very difficult.

00:02:17

Rachel Hallett

I think my top PhD tip is – work on your self-esteem.  You’re in the kind of environment where you get knockbacks and criticism a lot, so having a good base there helps the stuff wash over you a little bit.  Before I started my postgraduate studies, I found a course online called toolstolife.com – really worth having a look at.  It’s a 90-day programme.  It’s free. 

00:02:47

Rachel Hallett

And some of it’s a little bit cheesy, but it was a huge help in getting myself organised, feeling positive about myself, so that would be my top tip.

00:02:59

Rachel Hallett

I don’t really have a typical day at the moment.  What I try and do is make a ‘to do’ list the night before of the things that I need to get done the next day.  So that’ll typically be going into websites to check on administrative things I need to do for the conference and the journal, and I’ll schedule maybe a job application, maybe working on some research that I’m trying to get published or whatever.  But it varies quite a bit.

00:03:28

Rachel Hallett

My PhD was in using music in exercise, and whether it could help people stick to their exercise programmes, and that’s really what started me studying psychology in the first place – I was a fitness instructor and I wanted to understand my clients’ motivation or lack of motivation as it often was.  I’ve also got a background in musicology, so it kind of combined the interests.

 

 

 

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