28 Summary

This chapter on self-care attempted to tackle many of the key stress points of undergraduate research. We began by talking about time management, perhaps the most important determinant of stress throughout the thesis. We suggested that you keep a macro and micro model of your schedule, where the specific tasks can be easily interchanged to support your flexible schedule, and the macro tasks represent the vital deadlines which the specific tasks must still align with. We then discussed the importance of mindfulness not always as an escape from your obligations in the future, but as a potential feedback loop between your present stress and your future goals. Rather than provide you with a list of Mindfulness strategies, which you can find anywhere else, this chapter attempted to position the vital activity within the goals and stresses of research. Next, we discussed the key partnership of your research process – working with a supervisor. We advocated adjustment of your expectations to that of your supervisor, which means that the first task was to simply talk to them, thank them, and align your schedules and work habits. After discussing the supervisor relationship, we went on to discuss peer support. Peer support is another vital aspect of dealing with stress throughout your thesis, as peers (particularly those also struggling with thesis work) can often provide the emotional support that mentors do not have the time and energy to provide. Struggling through the same thing as you will also provide you and your peers an outlet to be sincere about the annoying, dull, and seemingly impossible aspects of research. This can provide you and others a more accurate conception of what is expected for undergraduate research, helping to stave off the egoism of research and the feeling of fraudulence.

In sum, acts of self-care are acts of healing. They are activities you do because they make you feel healthy. They mitigate the wear and tear of stress so that you continue to be active in the things you care about beyond yourself. We hope that you are able to use this chapter to combat the stresses of research, to develop an outlook that sees the strength in self-care, and cultivate a network which does the same.


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Practicing and Presenting Social Research by Oral Robinson and Alexander Wilson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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