So, how do you survive your PhD and/or stay sane in academia?
As mentioned before, a great supervisor can make a non-dream project fun. A bad supervisor can ruin even the most awesome project for you.
Talk to the supervisors, if possible. Talk to other lab members/former PhDs etc.
E.g. I cannot deal with weekly/biweekly meetings. They just heighten my anxiety & stress levels. I'm putting enough pressure on myself already. Monthly/even less often is best for me.
3-4 yrs is a long time, everyone will lose motivation at some point. Find out how to work with your supervisors to get yours back.
This is why you need to choose your supervisor - you need to be able to trust them enough to know that they will respect you & your needs.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask for meetings.
I found the ideal balance in my PhD - we'd have a meeting and then I'd go off and work on what we'd talked about for a month or three and present them with the results. BUT...
Our supervisory meetings became so much fun that I was looking forward to them - I'd always leave with a head full of new ideas & immensely motivated.
A difficult one. Doing stuff outside your core research is GREAT and important - be it scicomm, teaching, extra projects, MA students, additional admin roles...but too much can just lead to you feeling overwhelmed, stressed & your mental health plummeting.
In my 2nd yr I stated the problems I'd had & refused to do this much teaching again.
NO, IT'S STILL WORK.
And you NEED time away from it.
(once again - yes, I know this isn't possible for everyone)
If I know I'll work all night/WE I'll procrastinate cause 'I still have all evening'. If I say I will stop at 7pm? I get SHIT DONE. Cause there's a deadline. I know I can do all the fun stuff later in my free time!
But it shouldn't be the academic norm to work 60hrs a week.
You're more likely to make space for free time if you have fun stuff to do! This can be anything from sports to crafts to enjoying good movies. ANYTHING YOU LIKE.
I'm lucky that I get along well with parents - so my support system are my family, a few very good friends, my HEMA club & my 4 pets.
Tmrw I'll talk abt what it's like to be trans & autistic in science before we loop back to science-y things on Sat!
My 5th hobby that I haven't mentioned earlier is MOVIES. I go to the cinema at least 3x a month. And horror is my favourite - I've watched lots already but if you have any favs you think I might not've seen, GIMME!