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Researcher Journal: My first year as a PhD student at the Wolfson Centre

4 August 2023

“Although it has been a challenging experience, I have learned so much already and look forward to everything else I have yet to learn!”

My name is Abbey Rowe and I am conducting my PhD at the Wolfson Centre for Young People’s Mental Health. My PhD is on the role of schools in supporting the mental health of neurodivergent young people, particularly those with ADHD.

I chose the Wolfson Centre to carry out my PhD for the opportunity to work with leading researchers in the field of young people’s mental health, specifically with a focus on schools, which is an area I have worked in for most of my professional life.

Being able to attend meetings where researchers from different work packages share their work and collaborate to improve their practices and learn from each other have been some of my favourite parts of this experience. Also meeting our Youth Advisory group, who drive the research at the Wolfson Centre.

I have developed a variety of skills during my time at the Wolfson Centre. The large majority of my first year has involved learning to work more independently, particularly in relation to the planning and designing of a research project. Additionally, I have been learning new and complex quantitative research methods through a range of self-directed and in-person courses. This has enabled me conduct secondary data analysis using multilevel modelling in stata, which I had no experience with before I started here.

I am proud of how much I have learnt over the last year, which is evident in my ability to now use a statistical analysis software package that I had never used before, though I have lots more to learn. I am also just proud of making it through my first year!

It has been a really positive experience, which is mostly driven by the highly experienced, but above all passionate and supportive, team at the Wolfson Centre that I have had the privilege to work with and learn from over the past year.

Written by Abbey Rowe