Featured ‘Day in the life of’: Emily, Environmental Science PhD Candidate.

Hi I’m Emily and I’ll (hopefully) be finishing my PhD in July this year! I’m researching the impact of urbanisation on native plants and their insect pollinators. Because I’m mostly writing now, I like to work from home or visit local cafes. Over the last 3 years though, I’ve spent time in the field, glasshouses, labs, my office at Murdoch Uni, and at the state herbarium of WA.
In my spare time, you’ll either find me outside in my little native garden, inside with my house plants, or training for my 3rd degree black belt at Wilkes Martial Arts. The PhD and my third degree are my biggest life goals so far, and both are due around the same time… Someone fire my planning department!

Visit Emily’s instagram!

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Time for yoga.
For the last 3 years, I’ve been saying I will start yoga when I finish my PhD. At the end of 2018, I realised there’s never going to be a perfect, un-busy time, so now I just make it work. I aim for a couple of 6 am classes per week, but I’m never fully awake for it. Today’s topic was all about creating space if you’re struggling with something, instead of wishing it away. The topics always feel relevant to my PhD!

Coffee time!
I’m so lucky to be at the same stage of an environmental science PhD as my best friend! We’ve studied together on and off for the last 9 years. We like to work from my house or any nearby cafe … today’s no different!

Back home for more statistics!
My office is where I’m most productive and my second monitor comes in handy for big data sets! I’ve got an empty PhD certificate frame for motivation, and I also have my goals written up on the wall. This cartoon reminds me to keep on keeping on!

Lunch time. My favourite part of the day!
My partner and I both have full-time commitments and both work/train at night, so if we want to eat during the week, we have to prepare everything on the weekend. We have never been very good at meal prep, but this year we’ve tried really hard! It feels like a massive waste of a Sunday, but I’m sooo grateful at lunch and dinner time all week!


I have used ArcMap to make (you guessed it) maps of my study sites, as well as the different surface cover in the region. I am glad that I upgraded my computer early PhD, as this one is much faster for buffering and doing all of the little things that used to take me hours! I’m looking forward to the day when all of the mapping and statistics comes together, hopefully in a published paper!


Quick tea break with the plants!
Unfortunately my little unit doesn’t get too much light inside, so a lot of my plants have (indefinite) holidays on the outdoor table. It’s only been the last year or so where I’ve had the opportunity to have plants, and I find looking after them can be quite relaxing. Having some greenery in my office also makes the PhD work seem a little less stressful. If you don’t have any house plants, I highly recommend them! 🙂

Arghh (R) I’m still here!
So much code, so little time! I’m feeling the pressure of a large, rather messy data set and need to get my models sorted out! I’ve got site characteristics, plant data, flowering, map buffers, and insect samples and it all merges together into one slightly overwhelming file!

Wouldn’t be a regular evening without training!
Martial arts has been my main hobby for the last 15 years, so I am well adjusted to the study and training balance. I’ve kept up the martial arts throughout my undergrad, honours, and PhD. It’s an excellent way to relieve stress and stay fit, especially when I’m sitting at a desk so often now! Tonight was one of my teaching nights (hence why I could wander around and take a photo!), but I’m training heaps and soon I’ll be the second girl in our gym to reach third degree, so I’m pretty excited!


Home again! After washing and dinner it’s usually around 9:30 pm, and I only have enough energy to crawl into bed! If I get home early though, I like to finish whatever I’ve been working on for the day, and formulate a plan for the next morning! Not too long to go now!

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