This month, the latest intake of PhD students (myself included) will officially set to work on their research projects. With this in mind, I thought it would be good to share some of my top tips on how to prepare for the journey that lies ahead:
Invest in a Diary
As I mentioned in my last post, poor time management is an often-cited problem for doctoral researchers. To gain a sense of control over your time from the off, invest in and make use of a diary. I’ve had a yearly wall planner and a week-to-view diary for all of my studies to date and found it really useful so it’s something I’ll definitely be continuing throughout my PhD and beyond.
Read the University Literature
Most universities send new PhD students an abundance of literature before they start their research. Be sure to read through this as it will likely provide a vital roadmap for navigating (at least) the first few weeks of your studies.
Purchase a Self-Help Book
Consider purchasing a book to help you with your PhD. There are many on the market for all the many different fields of study. I’ve found these kinds of books useful to skim read generally before starting my studies, but they’ll also be good to dip into for advice on specific problems as I’m facing them. Blogs are pretty handy too, although you already know that if you’re reading this!
Look to the Future
At some point in the first few weeks, make a note of what you hope to achieve both during and after you have completed your PhD. While it’s important to live in the here and now and to enjoy your time as a research student, looking ahead is a fantastic source of motivation and, for me personally, helps to gets things started on the right foot.
Hopefully, this has provided some food for thought for all the new PhD students (as well as those who are further along in the PhD process). Good luck with everything your studies throw at you!