It can seem like an impossible task: tediously reading dry academic research articles, following citations in never-ending circles to somehow come away with a structured literature review of the field. Two papers down and you’re already falling asleep. It’s a deeply unsettling feeling of hopelessness that I once felt as well. Here's what I did to overcome it.
Think you only have time to read text books in grad school? That’s what I thought too. You have more time than you think. Your future self will tell you so (trust me). The 5-15 hours and $8-$35 it will take you to read any of these books will pay itself back in time and earnings many-fold throughout your student life and in your first job offer after graduation. Invest in yourself and reap the benefits later.
My vacation time wasn’t well-defined during my PhD. My first real job after was the complete opposite. It was a major mental adjustment. Keep reading to know what to expect when taking that leap and strategies to get better than the standard deal.
Your guide to nailing your presentation, meeting the key figures. making lifelong friends around the world, maximizing free food and drinks, and rewarding yourself at your next academic conference. Ever exchanged business cards at the top of a volcano?
Foresight turns into hindsight two years after finishing my PhD and reflecting on what I've learned in Corporate R&D.
"I was not very self-motivated. I had trouble focusing for extended periods of time. I had mediocre organizational skills. I rarely prioritized things properly. I often took shortcuts at the expense of quality of work. I hemorrhaged time toward “writing” that was horribly inefficient resulting in little free time to be social. I knew if I moved on to a post-doc and professor or independent researcher position, this attitude would carry over and put my long-term career in jeopardy."
“Write 300 pages about everything you’ve done in the last five years. You have three months. See you then.”
No one specifically said these words to me, but they might as well have. Writing a PhD thesis is not just technically difficult but a true test of one’sinner motivation, focus, fortitude and perseverance. It felt like this massive amorphous and ambiguous blob which I needed to shape into a body of work, but any time I pushed one section into place the rest would start spilling out and need immediate attenti