Sunday, March 29, 2009

Make your Ph.D easier , more productive, and more enjoyable

Some practical suggestions to save (significant amounts of) time

Manage your supervisor, Know the literature, Dont get isolated, Get help, Protect your mental health.

Manage your supervisor

Make sure you have weekly meetings. Set the agenda. Send a report before the meeting. Have questions prepared. Send a summary of the meeting, including action points for each of you.
Don’t wait for him/her to write the paper or to solve a problem. Take control of your project. Respect your supervisors wisdom and experience BUT don’t assume they are infallible.

Don’t get isolated.

Isolation leads to discouragement and often a lot of time going down dead ends. Discussion with and feedback from other postgrads (even when they don’t know what you are talking about) often breaks logjams.

Get help.

From other students, postdocs, lecturers.
Ask them for feedback.
Know the literature. It can save you a LOT of time, trying to reinvent the wheel.

Protect your mental health

Depression, stress, and anxiety is a common problem among your demographic group: highly gifted and busy people.

Read “A Ph.D is Not Enough!” by Peter Feibelman.

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