It’s somewhat of a truism that the doctoral journey is a lonely one, especially for those of us who, for whatever reason, tend to spend more time off campus than on. Even on campus, opportunities for sharing with others can be something of a rarity.
Over the last few weeks, I have begun to join in a weekly chat session on Twitter. On Wednesday evenings between 7.30 and 8.30 a disparate group of research students communicate with each other in 140 character messages on topics like literature review, managing data, writing, etc. The weekly topic is decided in advance via a poll. We share resources, realise we are not alone and hold each other to account. The fact that we are working in different areas – and sometimes different countries – is irrelevant as we are able to offer each other that sense of not being alone.
When the idea of a Twitter chat was mooted to me, my immediate thought was it couldn’t work; 140 characters would be too restrictive to say anything meaningful. How wrong I was!
If there are any research students out there reading this and feeling isolated, do take a look at #phdchat on Twitter and consider joining us next Wednesday – or any Wednesday that you happen to be free!