Mike Slackenerny is, by far, my favorite character in PhD Comics. I have several reasons for it; I physically resemble him (hair – eyes – beard trio), I nap in my office frequently, I’m married and I feel like I’m in grad school for years and years (although it is only my 2nd year in PhD!). Most of the time I share his views on various topics. By the way, I know that it is pretty late to write about new year’s resolution, but I can’t miss the opportunity to share my feelings about it after seeing the following comic.
I rarely make a new year’s resolution. Although its attractiveness, I know that such resolutions are not working well (at least for me). But I tend to to make such resolutions when I feel depressed about my future. Which happens very frequent. Who doesn’t, right?
I aspire to be successful whatever I do. I am not a perfectionist but I would be happy when things go according to the plan. This is one of the reasons that makes me feel morose. PhD itself is a complicated journey, where most of things don’t follow a routine. Hence, regardless what kind of a person you are, you need to get used to its nature. Even little things, such as writing an abstract or paraphrasing a paper can turn out to be a disaster otherwise. I feel like I have become less adept even in communication. I didn’t attend kindergarten when I’m a kid, but I feel like grad school itself is a kindergarten where you learn how to speak, communicate, read, write and even organize your sleep – from scratch! But I digress.
All I Want: No Ifs, Buts or Maybes!
Most resolutions make you feel stressed, but there are actually some good ones. There are especially 4 resolutions that will help a PhD student.
1) I Will Be Pragmatic
During this long journey, being a perfectionist is a huge mistake. Do not wait until everything is perfect to research/write/travel/enjoy. I always say that a vacation is more fun if it’s in a busy time period. If you need or want to learn about something, then do not wait until it is summer time.
2) I Will Keep a Blog or Twitter (or both)!
This article is written due to my promise to write more frequent. Keeping a blog is certainly a good trait for everyone and as well for PhD student. They say blogs and social media presence are the new type of CVs. I definitely agree. Another great thing is you can meet with new colleagues through internet which may help you to endure stressful atmosphere of graduate life. Also check this article.
3) I Will Choose My Destination
One of my biggest mistake during my undergraduate is my indecisiveness on what I want to do after graduation. Eventually I chose to continue my education with a master degree but if I wanted to work in finance, for instance, I could not make it easily, since none of my internships is in finance. Moreover, academia and private sector needs some different qualities. Check some ads of the jobs you wanted, you will realize the difference.
4) I Will Write More About My Research (Even Better: Everyday!)
This is an advice that I hear from many PhD graduates: write everything that you are doing about your research. Not this weekend, not tomorrow, but now. Later, it becomes much difficult to remember why did you get that experiment, what was that paper about. Our minds have an uncanny ability to forget even important points if it is not written down properly. So, whatever you learn or think, note it somewhere. This is particularly good for two other reasons, too; it improves your writing and you can find new points while transferring ideas to words. And how about writing these in a blog? Sounds delicious!
So, tell me what are your resolutions for this year? Do you have any suggestion to PhD students as a colleague, academic or someone from the sector?
I suggest you to read following posts, which inspire me;
- http://irevolution.net/2012/05/09/advice-to-future-phds/ (Definitely a must-read)