In order to succeed in your lifetime, and consider yourself as a “successful person” it is mandatory to work hard by all means. This does not mean at anyway that you won’t be encountering any failure or breakdown. In fact, each success is driven by several past challenges and no one can rise from nothingness.
If you are here today and reading these lines delightfully, it is certainly because you are looking your way to succeed in your field and area of study (maybe in your MSc, bachelor degree, PhD or even your postdoc).
In this post I will be specifically focused on the PhD career in general. You can still continue following these lines even if you do not belong to this class.
Well, it is not that hard as a definition…A PhD is a doctoral degree that can be achieved through hard work, consistency, motivation and a GOOD time management. These features are the main keys to succeed.
But it is hard in practice…Indeed, having to deal with an original academic research that must be original, crucial, critical and which responds to a very particular global problem is not painless!! It is therefore a dare that every doctoral student must endure in order to get pleasant and satisfactory results.
Even though we find many worldwide researchers nowadays and PhD candidates, we may notice that the purpose of the academic research differs from one country to another! It is unfortunate that in some countries the number 1 goal behind doing research is to acquire a teaching position and end of the story! And I and maybe you too, may notice this just from former researchers who are currently academic professors. You can systematically tell that their way to communicate and supervise their PhD students is based on purposes away from the research itself. While, of course, we cannot deny other countries’ main aim behind this, is to push the research field to its highest level.
As you notice this is just the beginning of the story and there is much yet to come…
Thus, in order not to get drown in this deep ocean of challenges, objections, confrontations, you just need to pinpoint your brain to positivity, instead of focusing and talking about problems with your supervisor, try to think of a way to create contentment and serenity between you and him for example. Instead of mourning the non-existence of the laboratory materials to work with, try to look for a way to have a scholarship elsewhere, a summer school where you can test and discuss your project. Sadly, we always show off the word “impossible” and the “negativity” in every situation, which is very inconvenient and will definitely lead to a slow work with slow results.
In order to ensure a good thesis work, it is absolutely necessary to go through several stages and take over the ongoing risks. But this will not go unnoticed, each crossed step will have an additional asset and one more point to your next work and will push you to commit even better and improve your work in terms of scientific productivity, originality or writing.
With my modest experience, I present you my most top 20 keys that, if correctly followed, can guide you achieve good results. (Whether you are encountering problems with your supervisors, you think of giving up or you think you cannot move forward…) These are for you:
- Always stay positive.
- Organise your time in a way of achieving the “two hours per day” of consistent work.
- Socialize with others and never stay in your bubble.
- Be curious, ask for others opinions, listen to their experiences, share your thoughts.
- Plan scheduled presentations with your colleagues (not specifically in your field of study) “yes I said colleagues”. You have no idea how much this can help you figure out missing and forgotten things, their questions can make you definitely think and bring out new ideas.
- Never compare yourself to other researchers.
- Do not think of your first journal article as if it was the ‘holy grail’. Consider it a concise developed idea with satisfactory results.
- In the first two years, be mostly present in different conferences and trainings in your field.
- In your first year, try not to get lost in reading whole articles, be very smart in your readings.
- Keep track of everything that you read, everything you write (backup your projects).
- Organise your general project in terms of small mid-term objectives.
- Do a self-criticism of your article before submitting it.
- Send you prepared article to your closest one or two colleagues to proofread it with you (This help 99% with English proofreading, syntactic and general idea seizing)
- If you ever get lost, contact people in your research field from around the world (Researchers are a worldwide community)
- Never rely on your supervisor to tell you what to do in every step, you should take the main lead of the work (this is why you are a researcher)!
- Be passionate about the subject before starting, otherwise you won’t be able to be productive.
- Never think about giving up, especially if you think of yourself spending much time with no publications.
- Develop your competences in your field with self-training (this definitely helps in bringing up new solutions to your problem).
- Please yourself with extra activities in order to diversify your way of looking at things.
- Subscribe to different magazines, websites…related to your field of study (this helps in being always up to date and engage yourself in productive discussions).
Written by: Fadoua Khennou