Looking back on my Ph.D. experience
What are some of the things that you now realise were good things to do while you were a Ph.D. candidate? Or what seemed to be an obstacle to finishing that now looking back you realise was a good thing?
Here are some Ph.D. tips I've gathered from those who've gone through the degree before us.
- "I surrounded myself with supportive people. Doctorate degrees are difficult. It is a great test of perseverance and although deep in my bones I know I could do this, there were many moments of self-doubt and I needed those people that I trusted to remind me of my strengths and remind me of the dream I had for myself."
- "I created a LinkedIn account. This helped me keep an eye on my network, see how I wanted it to grow and find out who the key people in my area of expertise that I needed to connect with."
- "In the last year of my thesis-writing, one of my siblings died and then I had to care for my 90-year old mom, which meant a delay in my writing and of course ultimately a delay in my graduation. Looking back, it was an important period in my development because I became a better person through all of it. You learn what really matters and who stands by you in times of great trial."
- "I adopted a dog and started attending a regular dance class. This was really helpful self-care practice for me as a doctoral researcher."
- "I trained for a marathon. Honestly, it gave me structure, stress relief and a goal to look towards that wasn’t related to my thesis."
- "I practiced selfish joy by being intentional about a hobby that took me away from stressing over my research."
- "I actively sought opportunities for networking and being purposeful with the CaRST credits that I signed up for."
- "Dinner club – Eating alone at times is great, but as an international student, it can sometimes get lonely, so a few of us would eat dinner together a few times each week. It was also a great time to discuss our Ph.D. projects and gain new perspectives."
- "Finding other Ph.D. mothers who were trying to finish their thesis while caring for their children. I needed to see that I was not alone in my experience and that my goals can be achieved."
- "Joining a volunteer group that was related to my research topic. This helped me gain new insights but also served as a reminder of the importance of my work."
- "I had a baby. My thesis baby was the best motivation to finish."
- "I wrote every single day, despite what I was feeling. That meant that I always had content to edit and improve on. This ensured daily progress."
You are not alone. Reach out. What are your thoughts after reading this?