Post Graduate Loneliness

I have found that the hardest part of becoming a PGR student is discovering that your cohort is… you.

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A student, sitting between stacks in a library, reading a book

I don’t know about you, but I have found that the hardest part of becoming a PGR student is discovering that your cohort is… you. You have no other people on your course to complain to about things. You have no one to go with you to Blends for your 87th hot beverage of the day. You have no one to ask when you are worried that you have totally misunderstood the assignment… because you are the only person doing what you are doing.

Something I would like to achieve during my run as the PGR chair for the Union, is to try and build a stronger PGR community. Although we are all studying different topics, we are all filling out the same frustratingly confusing Dissemination Strategy (still not convinced I know what that is). We are all stressing over Vivas and Progression Reviews. We are all having those little moments that feel scary or overwhelming. When we have each other we have a support network of people who can say “oh yes, I felt that way a few weeks ago” or “I had no idea how to fill that in either, let me show you how I did it”.

So, how do we achieve a united PGR community within The University of Derby? If anyone has any ideas of the best ways in which to share communications (because I know you all delete anything you don’t think is instantly relevant #NoShade), or ways in which we can socialise (maybe a postgrad Freshers with cinema trips and picnics rather than carnage) then please comment or get in touch with me at

Cate Starr

Postgraduate Research Chair


Joanne Easom
9:21pm on 22 Sep 21 I am technically an online MSc student this year, but I have union things to do and will often be on site (most likely Blends) - It would be good to know other postgraduate students.
James Elander
4:18pm on 20 Aug 21 Nice article Cate! In the old days, psychology PhD students used to have a weekly coffee together in Blends. Covid-19 must have really increased Post Graduate Loneliness. A psychology PhD student sent me this link to a paper about a study of how Covid-19 impacted doctoral students' progress (thanks Tobyn!): It made me realise there is a journal devoted to research on doctoral studies, if anyone is looking for a place to publish research about PGR experience, learning, etc. James Elander
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