Hey name is Melissa James and I recently completed my PhD in the Higher Education Research, Evaluation, Enhancement programme and I created this video to give a few tips to students who are thinking about the programme or perhaps you’re in it and want to see how some of us have progressed or got to the end. So I think the main concern or issue that people face is always about time and budgeting their time. So for those who aren’t in the programme, the programme is split into two parts, Part 1 and Part 2. Part 1 is structured learning with the modules and those prepared me really well for Part 2 which is the research and dissertation. Part one gave me the confidence to .. I think when we start the programme, I was concerned about could I actually write this, could I actually do this. Instead of looking too far down the road I really focus on each individual module and the deliverables in each one. So I really took a very project management focus to it and I carried that forward into Part two when now you’re out there on your own with your supervisor and nobody’s creating deadlines so I created them for myself. And I think that’s one of the areas that you have to consider is how do you build a project plan into your life which doesn’t always get planned over really well. And doing a PhD is somewhat selfish. I mean there are times when you have to put it first and that’s hard to do but I certainly felt like I had a balance throughout so it wasn’t overwhelming at any point to be honest. It was … I kept it as structured as I possibly could given the nature of it. So I created my own deadlines in Part two. So those self-imposed milestones and my supervisor was wonderful, Dr. Gemma Derrick, and she was always quick to respond and to work with me and she knew that I was very task-oriented and that really helped. And I can’t say enough about having a strong supervisor who understands how you work recognizing they have their own work to do. So self-imposed deadlines using the skills and time management that you learned in the first part of the programme and translate that into the second, I think would be the best advice I can give and be prepared to be selfish. For me I had a hard time writing or doing research for an hour a day here and there so I had to block chunks of time which does create some conflict in life balance sometimes but I was able to do that to the best I could and I finished in four years. So those would be I think the most important considerations for you is to not be overwhelmed by the tasks ahead but to always re-evaluate and take a look at it from a project management perspective. Be realistic so that you don’t get discouraged I don’t think. It was a wonderful programme for me which really fit my life. The team approach in Part one really helped you get a number of different perspectives and help build up your confidence and then moving on to the second part, it was taking all of that learning and applying it and keeping on task. So I never got, I never got discouraged, certainly overwhelmed at times, but once I broke it down into you know weekly tasks versus oh but this year ahead of me or two or more it became manageable. And I think that’s the best advice I can give is that it is manageable. Find how you want to integrate it in your life, work to your strengths and you have a wonderful team in the programme who want to see you succeed. So the best of luck and hopefully see you on the other side.