I went to this uni for my undergrad so the staff/layout of buildings isn't a problem - I've had my introductions.

The problem is I've been made to work from home, so I've never had on-campus experience before.

I'm more concerned about what to expect when on campus - how does supervision/ socialising work now that I'll be in a shared office of about 5-10 other PhD students? I'm a bit socially awkward and I'm feeling a bit daunted about not being able to have some alone time.

As much as I complained about working from home, I'm somewhat nervous about making a return to campus. I guess my main question is: how does on-campus life differ from working from home and what can I expect?

  • Very much depends on how your supervisor runs his/her group. My students work 'alone', whilst my colleagues set up group meetings so that students compete against each other, and he/she also uses these meetings to berate weak students; never mind the fact that these students have N top journal articles. In some offices, students are night owls, so you may prefer to work normal hours. Commented Sep 13, 2021 at 7:51
  • It's not uncommon in the UK at the moment for scheduled meetings to take place online still, and for academics to be mainly in meetings . Your supervisor may well work from home and supervise remotely except when they come in for teaching duties. (A comment on but VitaminE's comment and Brian Tompsett's answer)
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 13, 2021 at 8:34

1 Answer 1


In my experience, PhD students are usually free to come and go as they please, but it probably does depend on the subject and supervisor. If you are doing some kind of "wet" science or "metal-bashing" engineering then you might need to be physically present in a laboratory to perform experiments or manufacture experiments, but for many subjects you are provided with a desk in a work area (which gets called an "office").

Many PhD students do not find their allocated desk the best place to work, and some mainly work at home. Some work in the library, some work in the park. As long as your supervisor sees your work at regular intervals and approves of how you are doing there is generally not an issue.

Just make sure that university staff, particularly your supervisor always know how to get hold of you, either through your phone, email or other messaging system (like teams).

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