During your doctoral study it’s important to maintain a work-life balance and ask for help when you need it.


Undertaking a PhD can involve long periods of time working alone. Therefore, it is important to develop a network of colleagues and friends who will support you throughout your candidature, as well as strategies to ensure your emotional and physical wellbeing.

You should take advantage of the workshops and other events on offer, such as Shut Up and Write, or join the Postgraduate Student’s Association. As well as providing advice and strategies related to your research and writing, these are opportunities to meet doctoral candidates from around the University.

It is important to ask for help when you need it. At different stages during your PhD you may wish to seek advice from the University’s statistical consultant, get one-on-one advice on academic writing, learn how to use library databases, meet with a finance adviser to create a budget or meet with a counsellor to talk about how you’re feeling. The professionals who work in these services are always willing to help, but you will need to take the initiative in making contact.

One way to ensure you maintain a work-life balance is by getting involved in sporting, cultural and other activities. You can use your local network to find out about local events—Wellington on a Plate, sporting events at The Cake Tin, the International Film Festival—as you begin to discover the city and the region. Doing a PhD is like having a job; it is important to take breaks (up to 4 weeks per year) and enjoy some leisure on weekends.