Encouragement for those who are in Ph.D. programs

Once upon at time, you started graduate school. You were so excited to come to your institution and to learn and add to the body of knowledge. You had high aspirations of winning a Nobel or a Pulitzer Prize, landing that prestigious position at a research one institution. By years 2 to 3 of the program, after finishing your qualifying or comprehensive exams, you realized that you would be in school for at least 3-4 or even 5 years more. Some may have realized that they don’t even see an end in sight. But I am here to say, that I have been there and others have been there and made it through. I have 8 thoughts to keep you when you have your bad days.

1. Be like the little engine that could. Keep telling yourself, “I think I can, I think I can”
2. Reach out to your friends that have finished, ask them for encouragement.
3. Treat yourself (with in reason) to a small treat.
4. Sometimes you have to press “reboot” on your mind and step away from the madness for a day and then come back tomorrow.
5. It is ok to be scared and frustrated. It means you are closer to finishing than you think
6. No matter what, do NOT isolate yourself!
7. Learn to say No to things that are draining your energy.
8. Take time for yourSELF. If you are not healthy and rested, how can you bring your all to finishing up your degree?

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One Response to Encouragement for those who are in Ph.D. programs

  1. J says:

    Since I too have been in the same position, I agree with all 8 of your suggestions. I would amend number one to say “I know I can, I know I can!”. I would also add 9. Make a suitable plan to completion with the help of someone who has done it before or with your advisor (if they are willing). And I would add 10. Take time to enjoy this time of self improvemnt because once you finish school, you have to continue to live your life and begin your career.

    In hindsight, graduate school wasn’t too bad! I miss not having a WHOLE LOT of responsibility and only having to focus on my experiments and how often to read journals and go to grad socials! 🙂

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