Start Better and Have Fewer Regrets!

1. At this juncture of my PhD when I have seen it all, there have been accomplishments and disappointments. When I go back and reflect on my journey, so far I want to share my thoughts that might be useful for everyone, especially for the ones who have just started. I feel this would help you to have fewer disappointments when you come into a stage I am now in and retrospect.

  • Have a passionate start: A PhD is a project, a project that you would be working on not for a short duration but for few years at least. Make sure that your specific topic is your area of passion and interest and not the interest and choice of your supervisor or mentor’s interest area. When I chose my PhD topic, it was too vague and broad. Though it is a worthy contribution in the field of research, in retrospect, I wish I could focus on it better earlier.
  • Read a lot from the beginning: It is only in the beginning year of the PhD that there is time to accommodate a whole lot of reading into your schedule. The sooner you start to read the faster it starts to make sense to you. If you are not planned and systematic with your reading, it will end up reflecting in your work. Pick up books that would teach you to get more systematic with your reading so that you record all that you read and also save references. These days help can be taken from various web based tools as well. If you start using the tools in the beginning itself, it saves you a lot of time at a later stage.
  • Use your supervisors well from the beginning: At this juncture I would say, they aren’t supervisors but they are rather collaborators in the project. It won’t be wise to simply sit and wait for your supervisor to guide you, do share ideas find opportunities and create solutions for existing problems. I would rather suggest that your supervisor is your team member. Even if your supervisor has a conservative perspective, you should work towards taking the ownership of your project. 
  • Work towards self-Management: It is a journey of self-exploration.. I have discovered so much about myself. My strengths, my motivations, my pitfalls. Amongst all your strengths and weaknesses, the success mantra of your PhD is discipline. There can’t be a second opinion on that. Temptations and resistance to work is always there. Self-management helps to conquer those temptations by right priorities.

Remember that is a learning process. Learn from your mistakes and also from other’s mistakes. It would save you time and effort.

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