WELCOME: wellness and resilience

Hello, and welcome to all

The aim of the “Keep fit for your doctoral studies” blog is to provide you with information and resources to enhance your academic potential while doing your research here at the University of Reading. And another key aim is to provide information on services available to you, and resources to support your health and sense of wellbeing.

The starting place to find information is the Graduate School website.  Here you can find very useful information in the Comprehensive Guide to doing a PhD at Reading .

Who to contact, and when?

Student Services
During the time you work on your doctoral research you may experience some challenges and you may wonder what you can do to manage them before they get more problematic. As a student at the university you have access to Student Services, based in the Carrington Building, on Whiteknights campus.

Student Union
You can also access information available on the Reading University Student Union.

For example, if you are experiencing issues related to accommodation you can contact the accommodation team. For further support you can contact RUSU for advice on housing, and can provide you with information about services in the area.

Welfare team
Some of you may experience changes in your circumstances which may have an impact on your studies. For example, if you are not sure how to go about finding ways to deal with these challenges you can contact the Welfare team. They will organise a brief meeting with a Welfare officer who can provide information and advice on how to get started and support you in making contact with relevant services where appropriate.

Counselling and Wellbeing
If you are experiencing personal difficulties which are having an impact on your health and ability to manage your emotions (e.g: anxiety, depression) contact your doctor for medical advice to support your health. Dealing with difficult events may trigger low mood and anxiety symptoms that can be very distressing, and potentially lead to more serious conditions.
You can also access The Big White Wall, an online support service available 24hrs here.

If you would like to discuss your concerns with a member of the Counselling and Wellbeing team you can register online, or you can go to the Carrington Building to register in person. They will arrange an initial meeting (about 30 mins) to discuss what are your concerns, explore options, and identify next steps.
You can access the Counselling and Wellbeing services website for further information.

The services are available all year round, and it is best that if you have a question or concern that you contact the relevant team to ask for information at an early stage. This increases the potential for finding solutions and prevent situations from becoming critical, and distressing. If you are unsure of which team to approach, you can contact the Welfare team in the first instance for information and they will advice on appropriate services.

Academic support
Regarding academic questions or concerns, the first point of contact is your supervisor. Alternatively, you can contact the Director of PGR studies in your School/department. If you are not sure where they are located, or do not have their contact details, you can check with the PGR administrator, or the Graduate School, for information.

Library resources
In addition to the wide range of print and digital resources on offer from the Library, expert support is also available to you from their Research Engagement, Academic Liaison Librarian, Study Advice and Maths Support teams.

Academic Liaison Librarians can advise you on finding and using information and resources effectively, including developing search strategies, keeping up-to-date in your area of research, finding specific types of publications such as conference proceedings, and using reference management software, such as Endnote. There is a list of liaison librarians for each subject area at:  https://www.reading.ac.uk/library/liaison

The Library’s Research Publications Adviser, based in the Research Engagement Team, can advise on publishing your research, your digital researcher identity, obtaining funding for open access publications and how to track the impact of your research outputs using bibliometrics and altmetrics. More information here: https://libguides.reading.ac.uk/research-support

Study Advice
The Study Advice team have lots of experience of successfully helping with questions about academic writing at PhD level, including writing literature reviews, structuring, and referencing. The team can also help with a range of other academic skills for successful PhD studying, such as working with supervisors, interpreting feedback, and managing projects.

See the Study Advice website for online resources including specific guides for research postgraduates.
If you would like to speak to a Study Adviser, the team also offer one-to-one sessions which you can book by calling, emailing, or going to their desk on the ground floor of the Library.

English language support
If English is your second language it can be challenging to express your ideas in English, and this may prevent communicating your knowledge clearly and this may be delaying your progress.  The Graduate School, in collaboration with the International Study and Language Institute (ISLI) runs several English language support courses for doctoral researchers.  Further information is available on the Graduate School website.

If you would like to have further information about the range of support available, then do drop in to the group discussion sessions in the Graduate School on Tuesday mornings where I can provide more details about the Services.