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Here’s another rant about food in the world of PhD students.

Actually, it’s more about the apparent lack of food.

Having worked 8 to 10 hours a day in a shared PhD office for the last 2.5 years, I’ve increasingly noticed the strange feeding habits of some of the colleagues I work alongside, and in all honesty, if I followed their example, I’m sure I’d die. In the space of the 6 to 8 hours some people spend in this place, they seem to survive on just a couple small snacks, and sometimes on nothing at all.

We have one colleague, for example, who shows up at about 10am and is in the office all day, until about 5 or 6pm, and habitually eats nothing throughout the whole time.


Then there are the ‘grazers’. Grazers are people who seem to float around the lab working in an unstructured fashion and just eat little bits and pieces at odd times. We’ve had so many of these in the last couple of years – one who used to show up at around 11am, immediately have a coffee, and then eat a sandwich at around 4pm (a bizarrely-timed meal I call lunner), another who would show up any time between 9 and 10am and immediately have a huge sub for breakfast, followed by sips of coke for the rest of the day, and yet another who would spend the entire day testing in the lab, walking back and forth to meet participants, and having long chats to postdocs in the hallways, surviving the whole time on coffee. Then of course, there are the ones who eat nothing except small pre-packaged salads for lunch, even if they are at work for the whole day.

I just don’t understand how you can do research when you haven’t eaten anything all day.

I’m sure most people around this place would be less grumpy and more productive if they actually had a proper lunch break in the middle of the day, and actually ate something nutritious and filling during it. In fact, I hypothesise this would exponentially enable more research to be done, and more PhDs to be successfully completed sooner.

In the meantime, I’ll just try to smooth my incredulity at grad students on Victoria’s Secret angel diets and have some lunch.

If I had a magic wand with which I could change any three things about the present world, I would:

1. Create absolute world peace, forever. Probably, this would have to happen by removing the majority of men in power of various authorities, like governments and educational institutions, and replacing them with well-educated, liberal women.

2. Distribute free chocolate to all PhD students, worldwide. And…

3. Make all men disappear…at least for a little while.

But it sure is for PhD students!

I didn’t start out my PhD being such a chocoholic. But lately, as I’ve gradually come to the point where it all seems to be coming to a close (maybe, potentially), I’ve started snacking on choc-chip cookies dunked in Nutella…washed down with hot chocolate…and occasionally some squares of good old dark bitter.


Apart from being warmly, deliciously indulgent, these sorts of outrageous snacks remind me of a time I was backpacking through Switzerland and, on a short stopover in Zürich, indulged in a box of those wicked little Swiss chocolates that come in individual mini cupcake holders. Intelligently, they are just big enough to fill your mouth, allow the filling to melt, and tantalize your taste buds with velvety richness, yet just small enough to make you think “I’ll just have one more…”

Seriously. Yum.

At this rate, I’ll be submitting a very brown, very smudged, and very yummy-smelling thesis in a few months’ time. But what can I do? You’ve got to fuel the brain!

Anyway, it seems chronic chocolate dependence is relatively common in PhD students, especially those who are in the advanced stages of the disease research…

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February 2020
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The Final Countdown

Submission of PhD ThesisMay 1st, 2013
The big day is here. Joy to the world!