Danielle Hayter – PhD ESRC South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership

Danielle’s story

Postgraduate study has been the platform for me to learn more about myself and that I want a career in research, academic or otherwise.

I told myself – and other people – I was doing a Master’s to better my employability but really it was because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. To be honest, I’m still not.

But I wouldn’t rather be doing anything else. I love researching and learning, and now my uncertainty comes from the amount of options I have available to me.

I studied for my undergraduate degree here and the foundations I established were too important to walk away from. I had working relationships with tutors, faculty librarians and learning support. I had also witnessed how much the University had grown and the effort and money being put into responding to student needs, such as improving the library and the infrastructure.

I had started to get involved in the research culture and community at the University and wanted to continue being a part of that.

I’m privileged enough to call my PhD research my job and it feels like you get a lot of freedom with that. So to give myself structure, I make use of the Humanities PhD Hotdesk room and have booked out a desk that I go in and use everyday, Monday to Friday, like a regular nine-to-five job.

However, due to flexibility of the ‘job’, no week is the same. I’m doing Graduate School Development Programme workshops, GPROF training, volunteering for research projects, getting involved socially as Course Rep, organising social events with the DTP, and attending talks.

The best bit – which still feels a bit new – is getting to give myself the evenings and weekends off, and I usually spend those reading for pleasure, seeing family and my boyfriend, and watching American Football.

I owe all my success to my time at the University. On top of earning my degrees, my work has been rewarded with competitive internal and external funding as well as a national undergraduate award for an essay and the opportunity to go and do a work placement with the BBC in Senegal.

I’ve learnt to ask for help when you need it; it will always be given. Don’t underestimate the importance of having a community around you. Try and find the joy in everything you do. If you come to Portsmouth, I don’t think you’ll regret making that decision.

Find out more about postgraduate study at the University of Portsmouth here