How to survive the Upgrade

I submitted my Upgrade report 2 months ago. I recently received the comments and suggested amendments from my assessors – what a smack in the face to my confidence!! But it’s all been taken on board and revisions have been made. It’s only the final push until I submit the final version, sit back, and wait.

In the meantime, it has made me reflect on what a stressful time it has been. It’s quite a lot to ask a PhD student after only 9 months ‘What have you done?’ ‘Did it work?’ ‘What are your plans for the next 2-and-a-bit-years?’.


So this is my guide to surviving the upgrade…perhaps a little tongue in cheek, but how I survived nonetheless!

  1. Coffee – After 8 months of reading papers, writing a literature review and testing the odd participant, I needed all 24 hours in the day and then some to get enough participants for a valid results section and time to read up and write about the methods I should really already know about.
  2. Sleep- After a few days of panic reading and trying to literally work 24 hour days words became meaningless and my writing was no more understandable than that of a 4 month old baby.
  3. LEAVE ENOUGH TIME- The minute there’s even a whisper of an upgrade report, you should have started it yesterday.
  4. Toughen up- you will get comments made about your work and you will probably take it personally. Don’t. The sooner you get used to constructive comments the better; this is what peer review is like. Take it all as a learning experience.
  5. Talk to other people – You won’t be the only one stressed, and you won’t be the only one with a supervisor whose asking for a zillion amendments a day before you hand in.
  6. Breathe – You’ll get through it 🙂

2 thoughts on “How to survive the Upgrade

    • I think that can be added to the Upgrade list too! I was applauded last week by a senior for appearing to only survive on Cola and Galaxy…I suppose its good to be noticed, even if it is for my love of junk food.

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