Advice for doing a PhD

 

Recently on Twitter I asked “If you could give only one piece of advice to a PhD student what would it be?” and I received lots of useful advice from the twittersphere. Might tweet spread further than I ever anticipated. I received 48 responses over all.

You can view the tweet above but I thought it might be worthwhile to summarise the tweets here. As a result, this post will be quite short as I think most of the tweets speak for themselves, so have a look at the thread!

Overall, it seemed to me the most common advice is:

  • Keep a work life balance, take your holidays and look after yourself.
  • It will be harder than you think.
  • It is a slow process, embrace the skills you learn along the way and it is your process. Don’t compare yourself to others.
  • Be organised and start writing early. Don’t assume you will remember everything from the start of your PhD at the end, having a system helps.

Here are some of the key tweets I liked:

I encourage you to read through the thread. It provides insightful advice from people who have been there before.

My own advice would be, don’t compare. I wish I had known this at the start of my PhD. I remember meeting someone in the sciences and following them on Twitter. They are about a year ahead of me in their journey, and were already teaching and publishing. I immediately felt like I wasn’t doing enough. Never mind that this person was doing experiments, so had results to share, and that they were a year ahead of me. My brain chose to ignore these facts. Remind yourself every time you compare, that it is actually impossible to compare your journey, even in the same field.

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