Featured ‘day in the life of’: Emma, a Swedish PhD candidate in human geography.

I am so excited that this is the 10th Featured day in the life blog!! Thank you to everyone who has shared their day!

This time Emma, who is a PhD student from Sweden is sharing her day!

A day in the life of Emma (PhD Student in human geography):

Hi everyone! I’m Emma, a Swedish PhD candidate in human geography. I work at Umeå University in northern Sweden. I’m quite new as a PhD candidate! I started in December, so I’m about half a year into my PhD. My PhD project is about transport mobility and I’m focusing on travel related opportunities and constraints for families with wheelchair-bound children with cerebral palsy. I wrote my Master’s thesis about tourism travel for these families, but my PhD is about the whole mobility spectrum (ranging from local everyday travel to international tourism travel).

I’m happy to show you a day in my life. This is my Monday, the 5th of June. Enjoy!


05.49 AM:
Getting ready for the gym! I usually wake up around 5.30 during weekdays, so that I can work out before work. My gym opens at 6.00 and I’m usually one of the first there.


06.30 AM: I arrived at the gym about 6.10 today and started out with some exercises for my arms and shoulders before a HIIT session (high intensity interval training) with a friend. We did some sprints combined with exercises with bodyweight and kettlebells. The best start of the day!


8.12 AM:  Arriving at my office! In Sweden PhD candidates are seen more as employees than students, so I have my own office and tend to be there during office hours (although we have the possibility to be as flexible as we want).


9.54 AM: I’m doing a compilation thesis consisting of four different papers. I submitted my first paper last Friday (please keep your fingers crossed for me!), so I have a period right now when I can prepare for my coming study. In the meantime, I’m also working with the methodology chapter of my thesis. I’m doing mixed methods. Mostly interviews, but I’m also doing a large survey next year in order to compare travel patterns of families with and without wheelchair-bound children with cerebral palsy. Today, I had the time to read studies related to the topic of my next study as well as some methodology papers.


11.10 AM: I went to a small local grocery store, located about two minutes from my workplace. I needed some gum and carrots. I prefer to have carrots in the fridge at work so I can have something to chew on while working. It’s always nice with a snack!


1.09 PM: Just came back to my office after having lunch in our lunch room. I had some interesting discussions with my colleagues, as always! In lack of lunch pictures, this is a picture of my board in my office.


1.55 PM: Am I the only one who always find new papers to read and save them to my computer with the ambition of actually reading them, while at the same time realising that I never will have the time? I have more than 100 unread articles on my computer… Time is always an issue!


5.09 PM: Leaving the office for today! I usually work from around 8 AM to 5 PM. I managed to read quite a lot today and spent the last two hours gathering my thoughts and summing up the content of the papers I read.


5.29 PM: Dinner time! We Swedes are famous for our early dinners… Me and my spouse both have quite a lot to do during the weekdays, so we prefer to prepare food for several days, so that we can easily heat some food in the microwave when we get home from work. Today’s dinner was some leftovers pimped with parmesan.


7.30 PM: Just came back from a training session with my new bike! It was raining quite a lot, so I only had a short ride today. I’m actually training for a marathon, but due to an injury I can’t run at the moment. So I bought this bike a few days ago to get some alternative training!



8.21 PM: When I got home after my ride in the rain I took a long, warm shower, did some laundry and then sat down in the sofa with another paper to read. I’m not working every evening, but when I do I want it to be cosy and pressure free. A nice cup of tea, some candles, etc.


8.59 PM: Got some company! This is our cat, Vivaldi (yes, he’s named after the composer). Decided that I worked enough for the day and watched some TV before going to sleep. Good night!



I hope you all enjoyed reading about Emma’s day! And if you haven’t already check out the other 9 featured day in the life posts! They are all different and insightful.

Leave a Reply