Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Natalie Lamb and the 10 top tips for new PhDs

1. Meet some other PhDs who are at the same stage as you
I attended a PhD networking event in the first 6 months of my PhD. There was a little group of us who went for pancakes after. I still keep in touch with one member of the group and it's really helpful to see how similar our problems and our PhDs can be.

2. Meet regularly with your supervisor
I meet with my supervisor every 2 weeks. It's good to keep track of this and ensure you keep booking the meetings in. 

3. Keep good notes 
I use a diary to write down my notes, that way I can review them whenever I need to and there are all already chronologically ordered. I then type up my notes from supervisor meetings into a single word document. Having them all in the one document means I can easily search for something specific if I need to.

4. Keep a blog or some sort of record of the training courses you attend
I use this blog as a way to record the new information I have learned on training courses. I use the tag functions and then am able to search for something specific such as "presentations" and all the information I have learned form different training courses on presentations comes up. I'm not saying you need to keep a blog, I'm just saying use whichever method would work best for you to remember everything you have have learned. Don't be afraid to write a blog if you are interested though. I write this blog for myself, without expecting anyone to read it. 

5. Work out where the gaps in your training/skills are
It is very easy to only attend training courses about things you are interested in but you should sit down, work out where your weaknesses are and dedicate some time to building on these skills. You may not enjoy them but you'll be grateful that you got them out of the way. For me, it's statistics. 

6. Keep a back up of your work
Have a backing up system in place, something you automatically do and don't have to think about. Personally, I use Google Drive.

7. Make a list of conferences in your field 
Find out what the big conferences are. Do you know anyone who has attended them previously? What did they think? You need to work out which ones are worth your time and which are not. It's also good to know the deadlines- for submission, for early entry fees etc. I try to go to an international conference a year during my PhD.

8. Don't compare your work with the work of others
A PhD is a journey and everyone has a slightly different path. Just concentrate on what you are doing and try not to let other people worry you.

9. Don't be afraid to say no- you're going to get busy quickly!
Don't be afraid to say no to extra work but also don't be afraid to say yes to extra work. You know what you are capable of and if you're not entirely sure what workload you can cope with, you will soon find out during the course of the PhD.

10. Enjoy it!
A PhD is a difficult thing to take on. It can be hard work. It can be lonely. But make sure you enjoy just one thing about it a day- this is a good portion of your life you are dedicating to this. It should be worth it for you as a person. For me, work-life balance is also a part of enjoying my work.

No comments:

Post a Comment