PhD can be a challenging journey for several reasons. For example, some students may not be comfortable with their supervisor, while others face financial issues. Similarly, being overworked can affect your relationships too. Moreover, getting a post-doctorate or a lecturing job is becoming increasingly difficult.
However, you should take your PhD as an opportunity to learn. There are some ways you can make the most of your time as a PhD student. All you need is to be smart about taking on and approaching new things. Everyone knows the importance of getting your research published. So, focusing on your dissertation is necessary. But have you ever thought about ways to enjoy this phase of your life?
Most PhD students are so occupied with their work that it becomes impossible to focus on anything else. But, the journey should be enjoyable, so you have some happy memories when you think about these years later in life.
Here are some tips on making the most of your time as a PhD student and enjoying your doctorate journey.
1. Get Online and Network
Yes, you don’t have time to spend networking on the internet. You have better things to do. We get it!
However, if you love research, then this is important. And, it can also be fun. Moreover, it helps you find like-minded people and curb those feelings of isolation you may feel sometimes.
You will find a lot on Twitter. You will meet people like you who are engaged in research. You may also find some people working in the same field as you. You can interact with them, discuss your research and ideas and listen to theirs.
In addition to networking, you will also come across many job postings you may not see otherwise. So, it is an excellent place to start looking for relevant jobs. In addition, you can read blogs you relate to and make the most of your time by interacting with people who are in the same boat.
2. Attend Conferences
It goes without saying how critical attending conferences is when pursuing your PhD. However, one needs to be strategic when doing it. Applying to five conferences in one summer, especially in your final year, doesn’t make any sense. You will be stressed out the whole year, especially when your thesis is nowhere near completion.
So, instead of doing it all at once, be strategic and plan your way up. Attending one or two conferences your first year is more than enough. You can work your way up from there. You can also balance some big international and national conferences with some intimate ones. These small conferences give you a better chance to get feedback. You will also get better publishing and networking opportunities through these conferences.
While you are attending conferences, you should also check if there are any travel awards or bursaries for postgraduates. Make sure you apply for these.
3. Host a Workshop, Conference or Symposium
You don’t just need to attend conferences; you can also host them. These don’t have to be massive. For example, there is no need to create a three-day event with multi-panels. Instead, you can arrange a simple full or half-day conference with some other fellow PhDs.
These events help you meet people pursuing similar passions as yours. You can also connect with academics you admire. Hosting a conference will also give you some administrative experience, which is an additional skill you can mention on your CV.
4. Teach and Get Accreditation for It
Teaching is a great opportunity when you are doing your PhD. So, try and get some teaching experience at your university. You can also ask your professors to shadow them or be their assistants for a few classes to get hands-on teaching experience. You can also check other universities if there are any opportunities to teach there. Try to give lectures or lead a couple of tutorials.
Also, make sure you attend any training seminars your university is hosting. Doing this while you are towards the end of your PhD journey can be helpful when you are applying for work. Moreover, try to get accreditation for your teaching experience to mention it on your CV.
5. Apply for Funds
You need it if you wish to continue in academia. So, work on your grant-writing skills. You can start small by going on a research trip or getting funds to host a conference. Then, you can apply for a visiting fellowship at the university or a library or develop a training workshop for developing your skills.
Practice is the key here. Start small, and you will eventually learn how to make grant requests for substantial amounts and get them accepted. Once you are ready, send these requests to research councils, national associations and your university. You never know which ones of these might get accepted, and you get a grant to help you tread your way through academia.
6. Attend Other Seminars at Your University
Several seminars and events happen at different universities. Instead of focusing on just the ones on your subject, try to attend other seminars. Interdisciplinary knowledge is a great plus for any PhD student. It is also a buzzword these days. However, venturing your way outside of your core subject and research area will help you make many new contacts and give new angles to your research.
7. Don’t Be Afraid of Rejections
Growing a thick skin is the best way to get through your PhD. You will apply to many things and will receive numerous rejections. However, don’t let the fear of failure make you stop. Continue applying to as many things as possible. It will only prepare you when you enter the job market and look for jobs. Academia is not easy. You will need to try again and again until you succeed.
Accepting rejections is tough in the beginning. However, you will eventually learn how to take rejections once you get experienced in the field. Not giving up is the key here. Don’t take these rejections to heart. Every PhD student faces these challenging times. It is OK to feel a little down. But, you need to get back up stronger than before and improve yourself.
PhD is the most challenging thing you will do in your academic life. However, you can make the most of your time completing your doctorate with the aforementioned tips. Make sure you stay focused. But, don’t neglect other important parts of your life. Try to balance your academics and your professional and personal life.
Finally, if you get stuck somewhere with your dissertation, you can always get dissertation help UK from dissertation help companies. These services provide writing, editing and proofreading assistance to PhD students. You can also use these services for guidance on writing a dissertation and improving your chances of success.