3 June 2018 | Category: Student life

A week in the life of a WUR student

By Lizzie Richardson

MSc Biotechnology ...

Following in the footsteps of some other bloggers I have decided to take you inside what a typical week looks like studying here at WUR. I am currently doing my thesis so my schedule may look a little different from others, but that is what makes every study unique! I recorded my times and activities during the week…Here we go


4:30am – Wake up
Yes, it is early and yes, it is dark and absolutely freezing but I like waking up early and getting to work as soon as possible.

4:30 – 5:30am – Reading
One of my aims for 2018 is to read more books (that aren’t Harry Potter), so I have dedicated an hour a day to reading. Currently, I am switching between two texts, one on the Roman Emperor Constantine (I have a degree in Ancient History so love exploring the Ancient world) and Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

5:30am – 7:30am – preparing a presentation for my thesis

7:30am – 8:30am – Breakfast, shower, and a lot of time sitting on my bed mustering the energy to face the -8C weather

8:30am -6pm – Lab lab lab lab lab lab lab

One very messy but busy lab

6pm – 8pm – Sport at The Bongerd
I went to a virtual cycling class at The Bongerd but the machine was broken, no worries, we just put on some music and trained ourselves.

8pm – 10:30pm – Home, dinner, wrapping up things for the day
Did some more work on my presentation and some research for the greenhouse design challenge I am involved in.



4:30am – Wake up
Here we go again, it was a lot harder this morning to force myself to get up

4:30am – 7:30am – Reading and writing for my thesis
Luckily my laptop is in reach of my bed so I can spend my mornings snuggled up in my warm bed typing away. Probably not the most productive way to work but it gets the job done.

7:30am – 8am – Breakfast, getting ready to leave and staring at pictures of my friends in Australia trying to warm up before heading out to the -10C weather

8:30am – 6pm – Lab lab lab lab
I have a phone full of podcasts and audiobooks to get me through the long days in the lab. When performing routine experiments that don’t require a lot of focus I usually throw a podcast on.

6pm – 10pm – Design Thinking Workshop
As part of the greenhouse challenge, we had to attend a 4-hour workshop on design. It was fun to tap into my (very limited) creative side, and there were copious amounts of free food so that was excellent.

10pm – 10:30pm – Cycled home via Julia’s house so I could pick up 2kgs of polenta. Lidl had a deal this week, 500g of polenta for 40 cents so naturally I asked my friend to pick up 4 bags for me (living on a student budget).



4:30am – Woke up, messaged Julia to force her to get up as well (don’t worry, she asked me to be her human alarm clock) and then promptly fell back asleep

6:30am – Ok now I’m actually up and sufficiently awake to be productive.
The usual deal left the house at 8:30am after complaining about the cold weather to my friends in Australia and spent the day in the lab. I was meant to go to a WURporter meeting at lunchtime, but my experiments were taking longer than expected so had to skip it.

5:15pm – Greenhouse challenge meeting
Today’s meeting was focused on the economics and business of the greenhouse. We had fun throwing around ideas for businesses and developing a draft value proposition.


This is usually how our meetings look at the end, dozens and dozens of sticky notes


6:30pm – Headed home, spent a few hours doing work, and then had a great 3-way skype session with two of my friends that I met during my AID. They are now home in Poland and Sweden, but we still try and skype every few weeks. The best and worst thing about WUR is its international population. It is amazing because you make friends from all over the world but then it is very sad when they go home.



4:30am – Usual morning routine, not as productive this morning. Spent more time thinking about how to be more productive than actually doing work. Also managed to skype one of my dear friends in Australia for an hour so that was lovely.

8:30 – 12:30 – Lab lab lab lab

12:30 – Bloggers lunch meeting
Met a lot of the faces behind these blogs.

13:30 – 6:30pm – Back to the lab and back to work

6:30 – 8pm – Another greenhouse challenge meeting, this time via skype!
Some members of our team aren’t located in Wageningen so we meet via Skype, this time we put our engineering hats on and discussed energy consumption.

8pm – 11pm – Tried (and failed) to do some research for another challenge I am involved in. Got too distracted by funny YouTube videos.



Usual routine today, nothing out of the ordinary except that I played squash with a good friend for an hour at lunch and had fun on the frozen lake outside Forum.

Enjoying the frozen lake outside Forum!


This is the first weekend that I haven’t had to go into the lab since starting my thesis, so I took full advantage of my freedom. Met up with a friend for tea and cake and then headed to the market to meet Julia.

Weekend meetings are infinitely better over lunch.

We wandered around for an hour buying food then had lunch at Bagels and Beans. Naomi joined us at Bagels and Beans and our lunch turned into a 2-hour meeting about the greenhouse challenge. Weekend meetings are infinitely better over lunch. After saying goodbye to Naomi, Julia and I decided to put off reality for a bit longer and headed to Columbus (our second home) for drinks and more cake. Finally, headed home, did some work and then skyped an Australian friend for 2 hours at night.



I am currently writing this at 9:45am on Sunday morning. I’ll probably spend the day skyping friends in Australia and finish off work I didn’t get around to during the week.

I hope that gave you an insight into the life of a workaholic-masters-student, as you can see there are so many different things to in WUR so your days can get very busy very quickly. Be sure to check out the other posts here, here, and here!

By Lizzie Richardson

MSc Biotechnology

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