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A Week in the Life of Hannah

Diary Picture for Hannah Kershaw postgrad diary

Hannah is from the UK and is in the first year of her PhD studies, which is co-supervised by both the English and Politics departments. When not studying, she enjoys attending classes as York Sport Village, exploring the many natural and historical sites of Yorkshire, and visiting friends and family back in London. She is also an avid ‘tweeter’ and runs the Twitter account for the Department of English.



I start the week by meeting up for a coffee at a café in the city centre with another PhD student whom I met at a teacher training session recently. Although in different departments, it was useful to bounce ideas off each other and compare our experiences of early PhD life.

At lunchtime, I head off to my desk on campus to do some work before attending a symposium at the Humanities Research Centre in the evening. It was on the late cultural theorist Stuart Hall, and was extremely interesting!


This morning, I head to the gym at York Sports Village to get some exercise as a change from siting at a desk! Afterwards, I head on to campus to do some work. My friend comes to meet me at 3:30 and we attend an event held in the ReCSS about the traditions around food and death. Afterwards, there is a selections of ‘funeral biscuits’ to try, which were surprisingly delicious! It is unrelated to my research but it’s sometimes nice to attend an event just for fun rather than research!

This evening, I have set aside a couple of hours to do some research for the Twitter page that I run for the department. I spent some time researching what is being discussed on Twitter about the department, and what events and news stories from the department need to be tweeted about. It only takes a few hours a week to do and is a welcome break from my research!


I start today by attending a Body Balance class at York Sports Village with a friend from the department. It’s a combination of pilates, yoga and tai chi, and is very relaxing, but not easy! Later, I head to campus for a postgraduate training session on using technology to create your thesis. It was very interesting and gave me lots of tips and tricks on how to manage such a large piece of work (it will be by the end, anyway!) This evening, I head out with some friends from the Department of Politics. Because I am on an interdisciplinary studentship, I am part of both the English and Politics departments, which has meant I’m lucky enough to have friends in both disciplines! We head to a local pub, and then to a club in the city centre later on.


I almost never study on a Sunday, so I start the day by going out for a long walk along the River Ouse. Later, I do some food shopping then spend the rest of the day curled up with a good novel!


I have the whole of Tuesday free so I head to my desk to work on the reading that I had prepared to do this week, and to think about what direction my next chapter should go in. I recently attended an open afternoon about teaching opportunities, and this afternoon I am finishing off my application to become an academic mentor for local A-Level students as part of the ‘Realising Opportunities’ scheme. I submit my application and head home for dinner. Later, I go out for a drink at a local pub with my housemates. I live in a big postgraduate house in the city centre with fellow students from all over the world, so an evening out is always lively and interesting!


Today I am meeting another friend who lives in the city centre, and we go shopping for a birthday present for a mutual friend whose birthday we will be celebrating tomorrow night. Afterwards, I go home to do some work for a few hours before heading to campus to meet some friends for an early dinner. Someone has bought some homemade Indian food and it’s delicious! After dinner, we head over the Heslington East campus to attend a talk by actor and producer Adil Ray as part of the Writers at York series of events. It was a fascinating event, and some of us postgraduates in the English department decide to head to a pub in Heslington afterwards to discuss it further.


I have a lie in today, then head over to campus with some friends for another Writers at York event, this time called ‘Words and Music’. It involves lots of interactive experimentation with martial arts and is a lot of fun! Afterwards, I head home to finish up on some work that I didn’t finish during the week.