I gave a speech about “Getting through the PhD” about a month ago at the University of Glasgow. It was intense to stand there, talking to PhD students in their first year and give them advice….more like slices of life and experience.
In this blog, I have written about my various struggles and tips to get through the writing up stage, as well as the data analysis, or the editing process. Here, I want to focus on one slide of my presentation about the psychological stages of the PhD, and how much of a roller-coaster this whole journey can be…just like this:
It was really crazy to see how much the students, even in their first few month of the PhD, could relate to this. Because this is a fact: you go through ups and downs emotionally and mentally all the time during the PhD.
Now, this is certainly not characteristic of PhD life alone, but I think the confusion and isolation you might be in really reinforce these fluctuating states of mind. In the end, there are a couple of things that really helped me get through the rough patches, and among them the true support of my supervisors. I did learn to work independently and make my own decisions, but I always kept this almost blind faith in them and in their advice.
And you, do you experience these stages, whether you are into a PhD or another long or though project? How do you cope with the difficulties?