Earning a PhD is a dream of many. Despite the many years of study, the long hours of research, the lonely nights in the lab, the love of science, the thrill of discovery, some still undertake the journey. However, not all of them succeed. Here, I want to share with you some tips that are sure to ease the process.
Have Some Free Time. We all think that earning a PhD is all about work, but I actually think it is also about having fun. It is about having fun in your research and out of your research. A good mind makes good research. A bad mind makes bad research. Take time to enjoy yourself. Have a passion other than your research. Explore nature. Make friends. So that every time, you are back to work to tackle your problem; it is with a refreshed mind. For as much as graduate school is about earning a degree, it is also about producing a complete individual ready to face LIFE.
Hang in There. I could not count the number of times I thought about quitting. I was missing home, the weather was too cold, I needed money or I was just tired of my never ending research…there were so many reasons to quit. At those times, it was always helpful to have a friendly ear around…one who would patiently listens and in the end say:”It happens to all of us. Hang in there. You are almost there.
Forget the Nobel Prize (for now). Let’s face it. We all start our research thinking that we are going to make this revolutionary discovery. But in reality, what happens is that we find the new in the old. We find a new way of tackling a problem. We improve slightly on a method. We make small steps to advance science. Most likely, your work will not be featured in NATURE (although it CAN happen). You will have to lower your standards along the way, complete your PhD and leave that Nobel Prize winning discovery for the practice of your profession.
Earning a PhD Is not Enough. Go to conferences. Make professional connections. You never know which one will help you get that first job.
Love what you do. Then not only will you have fun but you will be paid to do so.