Research Bake Off

The showstopper challenge to end all showstoppers!

We are challenging you to bake your research. This event is going to be a lot of fun and very popular. We want iced literary figures; ganached chromosomes; frosted Freuds and layered particle accelerators. The cakes will be judged on three categories: Look, taste and relevance. The winner will be receiving a delicious dining experience!

The competition is open to post graduate research students only, though all staff will be welcome to eat the offerings!

The date: 10th July 2014
The Location: The Gilchrist Postgraduate Club

To register: email [email protected] with your name, college and research area.

Everyone will be welcome to come along to see and eat the cakes afterwards- there will be more details for audience members soon.

Let your imaginations run wild- or worst case make gingerbread supervisors.

Guest post- Mental Health Awareness Week 2014

This week (May 12th- May 18th) is Mental Health Awareness Week.

We have been posting blogs and articles on Facebook and Twitter all week to highlight MH in academia and the theme of this years MHAW which is ANXIETY.

Jessica MacDonald (@JessicaRdctda former PhD student at The University of Glasgow, and who now works for the Mental Health Foundation (MHF_tweets) has written a special guest blog for us at The Gilchrist that focuses on building a supportive postgraduate community.


Building a supportive post-graduate community

Hi everyone! I am delighted to have been asked to guest post on post-grad mental health for Mental Health Awareness Week 2014. Post-graduate study is an intense and challenging time. The stresses of academia can exacerbate pre-existing mental health issues or contribute to their development and the systemic pressures which perpetuate this stress are coming under increasing criticism. However, mental health is not a binary. Mentally ill and mentally healthy are not the only two options. Rather, mental health is a spectrum with each person existing at some point along it. Everyone has mental health which can be better or worse depending on their circumstances. The more we all start to be open and honest about our mental health, the sooner the stigma surrounding mental health issues will start to dissolve, but I understand that these conversations can be difficult to have. I’ve come up with a couple of tips that will hopefully help us to start building a post-grad community where we can talk openly about our mental health, good or bad, without fear of judgement.


I am a big fan of yoga and svadhyaya, or the practice of self-study, is something that I find really helpful. All I mean by this is checking in with yourself every day. Ask yourself “How am I feeling today? How are my stress levels? How is my motivation?” and try to answer honestly. It can be easy for us to bury feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and depression, to write them off as normal stress and to ignore them in the hope that they will just go away. Unfortunately, ignoring these issues can sometimes make them a whole lot worse so try to scan through your body and notice how you are feeling.

Talk it out

One you have worked out how you are feeling, talk about it. Even if you’re just feeling a bit stressed or demotivated or confused about what your supervisor is asking you to do, chatting to your office-mates or your PhD pals can contribute to an atmosphere of openness and honesty around mental health. It might not seem like much to you but hearing other students talk about how they’re feeling could help someone who is really struggling with their mental health to feel like they are able to talk about it.

How you doing?

Be nosey! Has one of the other students seemed a bit down lately? Have they stopped coming in to the office so much? Take them out for a coffee and ask them how they’re doing. Yes, the conversation might be difficult. Try to listen patiently and without judgement. Yes, they might cry. Just look away discreetly and prattle away about something inconsequential while they mop themselves up. When you are struggling with your mental health, you can feel pretty isolated. Sometimes, the realisation that someone is looking out for you and has noticed that you haven’t been yourself can be comforting.

I get by with a little help from my friends

Your office-mates don’t have to be just your office-mates. They can be your mate-mates too! Spending time together outside of the lab can be a great way to build a more supportive community inside the lab. Organise hill-walks, go bowling or just suggest a post-work trip to the pub. I realise that it can sometimes be difficult to include everyone when some people work from home or are based in other departments but try your best. I’m sure they will appreciate the invitation! Sometimes a student who is experiencing problems with their mental or physical health will take some time away from their PhD. Don’t stop inviting them! This is really important. When you are off work with mental health problems, you can start to feel really awkward about seeing your work friends. Knowing that they are thinking about you and still want to hand out with you can be hugely helpful and make coming back to work much easier.

Knowledge is power

Arm yourself with information on where to get help with your mental health. Find out what your university offers. Grab a stack of leaflets. Make sure that everybody knows that getting help with your mental health is cool and strong and awesome. Glasgow University has a fantastic student counselling service with drop in appointments that you can book on the day and don’t forget that the Gilchrist is offering peer-to-peer group sessions where students can talk about their mental health in a safe and confidential space.

Well that’s all from me for now. If you want to read more or would like to write a guest post about mental health and academia, you can check out my blog, An Academic Follower of Fashion. Hope you’re all having a chatty Mental Health Awareness Week and keep talking to one another!


Peer-to-Peer Group Sessions

The Students Representative Council have recently been working on numerous new initiatives aimed at offering a better support system for postgraduates.  One of the key issues we are aware of is that for some researchers the experience can be quite isolating and stressful, and that this can have a negative impact on your mental health and wellbeing.

In an effort to manage this, we have developed a PEER-TO-PEER support group that will be facilitated by the University’s Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS).  The group will offer students the opportunity to engage with their peers who may also be experiencing similar stress, anxiety and emotion regarding their research.  The group will allow discussion of issues, sharing personal experiences, and perhaps advice and tips, to help one another during what can be a very emotionally and mentally demanding experience.

Nature of this group;

  • The group will last 90 minutes each session.
  • The group will be facilitated by a qualified and experienced Counselling Psychologist.
  • The group is aimed at postgraduates, particularly those doing PhDs.
  • This group will provide the opportunity to discuss any stress, anxiety or issues you are experiencing with your fellow peers, learning and listening from one another as well as helping each other.
  • This group will be a closed group which means you will be with the same group members throughout the course.

Group dynamics;

  • A short assessment (15-20 minutes) will need to be carried out before participating in this group.
  • You will need to keep what is discussed within the group as confidential and not to be discussed outside the group.
  • There will be a minimum of 5 participants and a maximum of 12 participants at any given time.
  • We ask you to be mindful and respectful to others participating in the group.

Benefits of the group;

  • To discuss any worries, stress or issues you are experiencing.
  • To share advice, tips or ideas on how to combat such stress and issues.
  • To meet and engage with fellow researchers who are in a similar position.
  • To have a safe space where you can talk about how you are feeling in relation to your research.

This group will run for EIGHT sessions and the sessions will be BI-WEEKLY.

For those interested please email [email protected] to register for a place.  Spaces are limited and a short assessment will be carried out by a member of the CAPS team before enrolment can be confirmed.

If you have any other questions please get in touch.  The first session will take place on Wednesday, 4th June from 3:30-5:00pm in The Gilchrist Postgraduate Club seminar room.


Exam/Revision Period

It is that time of year again!

As exams fast approach and dissertation/thesis deadlines are looming, the library is pretty packed!

Fear not though if you are struggling for space!

The Gilchrist is the perfect place for group study with our small study booths, perfect for up to 10 people.  We also have our seminar room if you want that extra quiet space to put your head down and write.

And, best of all- we are OPEN until 11PM EVERY weeknight so you can always get your coffee fix!!

Remember that we are OPEN TO ALL during EASTER VACATION (March 28th- April 22nd)