Things I wish I had known before I started the PhD: A thread 🧵

#AcademicTwitter #phdlife #phdchat @OpenAcademics @PhDVoice
Doing a PhD is difficult and takes years of effort and dedication. At first, you will probably not quite understand what you have to do. Don't panic. Give yourself time, little by little you will learn and understand.
Don't want to learn everything at once. You have a lot to learn and you are not going to do it in a day, a week or a month. You must understand that knowledge is not acquired quickly and that patience and perseverance are your greatest allies.
Your supervisor is an essential part of the process. He or she can help you spread your wings or cut them. Think carefully and explore your options before you start. Choose someone who is empathetic and wants to help you achieve your goals.
If that person is not that person, find another one. You are under no obligation to stay there. If you can't or won't find someone else, try to explain how you feel. If you don't get any change, visualizing your goal and focusing on it will help you not forget why you are there.
Your supervisor, if he or she does his/her job well, will do a lot for you. But so will you. You are producing for that institution, that research group or that company. Don't forget that. You deserve the same respect and consideration as anyone else.
In academia, informal aspects are sometimes as important as formal ones. It is not enough just to know how to write a scientific paper. Networking is essential.
Find a group of people, however small, who are in the same situation and understand and support you. They will be your lifeline more times than you think. Don't go it alone. That support is so important that, in my experience, sometimes it's what keeps you there.
Share your academic life with your loved ones. Try to explain to them what you do and why. Give them time, it's difficult to understand how academia works. Don't worry, they will eventually get it.
You will go through bad times. You will want to quit. Hang in there. Those moments will pass and better ones will come. They are part of the process and help you grow. The PhD will eventually end, I can assure you. Many people have made it, why shouldn't you?
Even so, it is perfectly valid that you want to quit. If you really want to do it, do it. It's okay, you'll find your way. But think about why you are doing it. Don't do it out of fear or because you don't think you're capable, because you are.
Doing a PhD without funding is twice as difficult as doing it with funding, at least in Spain. Doing a PhD and working at the same time is very hard. It can be done (I did it), but you will face more obstacles and probably need more time.
As a good friend told me once, the PhD is like a puzzle and eventually, the pieces fit together. It may take a while for that to happen, but it ends up happening. There will be seasons when you will advance a lot and others when you will advance little. This is normal.
Go to conferences. Speak in public. Present your research to the scientific community. Meet people. It's scary at first but fear fades with practice. There is nothing wrong with making mistakes. We all do it, and it's okay. Next time you will do better.
Take the time to learn. Be patient. Go at your own pace. Don't compare yourself to anyone. Everyone is different, has a different life, different resources and different qualities. Don't want to be like anyone else. Be yourself.
Be proud, what you are doing or going to do is very difficult and valuable. Every step you take is important. You will make it, but don't wait to be proud when you finish. Celebrate every accomplishment, no matter how small.
And last but not least. A good thesis is a finished thesis, not a perfect one.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Mercedes Gómez-López, Ph.D.

Mercedes Gómez-López, Ph.D. Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!