In the third post of this trilogy, I am going to talk about a few more things to keep in mind while completing your PhD.
- Criticism – Just like people have different opinions about politics, people will disagree with you about your research. Don’t get discouraged and give up. Think of it as an opportunity to prove your findings to another person or to refine your study. Either way, criticism is an unavoidable part of being a researcher.
- Starting problems – Anyone who’s ever had to write an essay knows about this. The hardest part of any project is starting it, whether it’s gathering up the conviction to sit down and start writing or finding the right words. The best way to get around this is to just start writing – let whatever thoughts you have flow and once you it in front of you, you can always edit it to make it sound better.
- Writing your thesis – Although this sounds similar to the points covered in Part 1(if you haven’t read that, make sure to give it a look!) it’s worth another mention. Make sure to stay on top of writing your thesis. Different universities have guidelines, but don’t leave a 100,000 word write-up to the last few months, it’s not only impractical, it’s also a fair amount of unnecessary stress.
- Mental health – Speaking of stress, did you know a sizeable portion of the PhD students suffer from mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression? While a little extra stress is unavoidable, this is something that can build up.
While working on your project, take time out for yourself, whether it’s to watch a movie or go for a walk. Talk to your friends or a trusted mentor or approach a professional. Remember that a PhD or any degree for that matter is secondary to your health and well-being.
Think about your life after the PhD – You may not realise it when you’ve spent a week sleeping at the library, eating cup noodles as you desperately try and interpret results, but there is a life after your PhD. Start thinking about what you want to do, whether it’s academia or working in the industry. Look for opportunities to attend conferences and meetings that allow you better exposure and networking to build your career.
This post concludes our three-part series on tips for PhD students. From next week, we will start discussing research, covering everything from the basics to what it entails.
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