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Student Stories

Student Stories

Blogs and vlogs from students of the University of Edinburgh

A day in the life of a PhD student…

View of Princes Street. A train in the foreground and the Scott monument in the background.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

…by Nitara / from London, UK / studying Biological Sciences (PhD)

A realistic day in my life: my routine varies but a random day in March looked like this…

Wake up!

Today, I woke up at 9am-ish (later than usual, I promise) so I rushed in, grabbing a coffee and blueberry muffin on my way. I had to stop to take in the view.

Arrive at uni

Being part of the School of Biological Sciences, my desk is in Ashworth Laboratories in King’s Buildings. I spend 20 minutes catching up with friends in the common room and making my second coffee of the day to prepare myself to debug the code I’ve been working on.


I put my headphones on- starting off with Work Out by J Cole usually gets me hyped up. Right now, I’m working on simulating disease spread through animal social networks but have been stuck on a code issue. With quite a bit of reading and help from my supervisor, I solve the bug! Onto the next hurdle..

Laptop connected to an external display and keyboard

Journal club

I take a break and go to WEG (Wild Evolution Group), a journal club where we share research and discuss papers. It’s really cool to be able to learn and chat about science with experts in the field in a relaxed and open environment. I often feel imposter syndrome but everyone is friendly and encourages students and staff of all levels to get involved.


I realise I forgot my lunch during my morning rush so I head to the Nucleus canteen and grab a vegan jerk hotdog with extra crispy onions on top- yum. It’s a sunny day so I eat outside.

Afternoon Hustle

In the afternoon, I have an online training course on Data Analysis in Python. I usually code in R but am trying to learn Python too so join the call from the comfort of my desk. After, I read a couple of new papers and prepare for a meeting I have next week. I make a to-do list for all the tasks I want to get done tomorrow.

Before I leave, I go for a meet up with BioPod, a science podcast society based at the university and we talk about potential episode ideas and I sign up to do some editing for a recently recorded interview.


I head home and get ready for my tuition class. To save for summer travels, I tutor on the side and today I have an hour of A/L biology class. I spend the rest of the evening baking! My first attempt at cinnamon buns are quite successful and I cover up any burnt bits with lots of icing. I made dhal, jackfruit curry and rice for dinner and switch on an episode of the new season of Drive to Survive on netflix.

Cinnamon buns in a baking tray

Last minute plans

As I’m tucking into my after-dinner iced bun, a friend rings and says there’s a gig on at Stramash that looks good. Since it’s been a long week and I feel quite happy with the work I’ve got done, I decide to join. The band is doing reggae covers and I enjoy the atmosphere and music.

Bed time

I get back and get ready for bed. I try to end the day by reading so I make a chamomile tea and curl up with a new book called ‘Hood Feminism’. I set my alarm for earlier and switch off the lights, looking forward to tomorrow!

Want to find out more?

Chat with Nitara

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