Collaboration for Academic Primary Care (APEx) Blog

Collaboration for Academic Primary Care (APEx) Blog

PhD Journey Tips: From Start to Finish – by Dima Arafah

Posted by ma403

22 March 2024

Starting a PhD is like going on a big adventure. It can be really exciting and sometimes tough, especially when things like COVID-19 change how we do everything, from talking to people to how we feel about being alone or getting our research done. I want to share some friendly tips for everyone doing a PhD, whether you’re just starting, in the middle, or almost done.

For the Newbies: Make the Most of Your Energy

When you first start, you’re probably super pumped. Here’s how to use that excitement:

Learn Lots: Go to classes and talks and read up on your topic. It’s also a great time to pick up new skills.

Keep Your Work Safe: Always have a backup of your research and notes. You don’t want to lose your hard work!

Find Your Happy Place: Figure out where you work best. It could be anywhere – a library, café, or even your kitchen!

Hang Out with Cheerful People: Being around others who get what a PhD is all about can really help, especially on the not-so-good days.

For Those in the Middle: Hang in There

This part can be tough. You might feel stuck or run out of steam. Here’s what can help:

Set Deadlines: Having clear goals can keep you moving forward.

Break It Down: Make a list of smaller tasks for each week to keep on track.

Change Scenery: If your usual spot isn’t inspiring anymore, try somewhere new. I switched from my kitchen to the library and it helped a lot!

Write It Down: Keep notes on what you’re doing and why. It’ll make things clearer for you later.

Talk About It: Sharing how you’re feeling with other PhD students can make a big difference.

Find Friends Online: Following others who are going through the same thing can be really encouraging.

Keep at It: Life might get in the way sometimes but try to keep making a little progress. It’s hard to start again if you stop for too long.

Almost Done: The Last Few Steps

First off, big cheers for making it this far! After you turn in your big project:

Give It a Good Look: Go through your work carefully. Keep an eye out for the key points, any questions that might pop up, and little slip-ups.

Viva Prep: Take advantage of any tips and links the PGR team sends to get ready for your viva.

Practice Makes Perfect: Have a mock viva with your mentors to get the feel of it.

Know What to Expect: Check out the usual questions and have your answers ready.

Brief Summary: Boil down each part of your work to a page to jog your memory before the viva.

Show Off Your Work: The viva is your time to shine and talk about all the great work you’ve done. Go in there proud and ready.

I hope these pointers help you cross the finish line with a smile!

Good Luck!

Dima Arafah


Back home Back