𝟏. 𝐍𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐨𝐰 𝐝𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡 𝐭𝐨𝐩𝐢𝐜: Many PhD students struggle to narrow down their research topic to a concrete research gap. Learn how to perform a gap analysis. Read more secondary studies. Make sure that you don’t end up doing something that already exists.

𝟐. 𝐃𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐩 𝐚 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐩 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐬𝐮𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐢𝐬𝐨𝐫𝐬: Understand how your supervisors work. If they expect something in a written form in each meeting, make sure to follow accordingly. Learn what are the best ways to communicate with them and clarify expectations.

𝟑. 𝐃𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐩 𝐜𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡 𝐬𝐤𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐚𝐛𝐢𝐭𝐬: Certain skills and habits are quite common across all types of research. For example, how to read a research paper, how to be consistent, and how to do a literature review are basic skills/habits for a PhD. Develop them as early as possible.

𝟒. 𝐏𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡 𝐨𝐫 𝐚𝐭 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐬𝐮𝐛𝐦𝐢𝐭 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐩𝐚𝐩𝐞𝐫: This will really help you in the confirmation of your candidature if you have a paper published or at least submitted. Try to publish as soon as possible. If it happens, it will give a big boost to your confidence level.

What makes you an excellent PhD student??

𝟓. 𝐌𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐚 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐧 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐥 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐩𝐡𝐲𝐬𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐭𝐡: The early you understand the importance of your mental and physical health in your PhD, the better it is for you. Don’t think that if you never exercised before, you don’t need it in your PhD either. You do need it.

𝟔. 𝐈𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐟𝐲 𝐤𝐞𝐲 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬, 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐬, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐣𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐬:  Once your gap research a matured level, start identifying and following the most relevant researchers, conferences, and journals. This will help to be updated and understand the expectations.

𝟕. 𝐈𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐟𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐤𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠: Within 6 months or so into your PhD, start reflecting on what skills I am lacking. These skills could include networking, collaborations, presentation, and so on. Start developing them from there on.

𝟖. 𝐃𝐨 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐭𝐨𝐨 𝐦𝐮𝐜𝐡: Some students take too much teaching load right away. Don’t do it. It will impact your PhD progress. Once your PhD path is laid out, then you can teach in the later years.

𝟗. 𝐃𝐨 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐢𝐭 𝐭𝐨𝐨 𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐲: Some students start in a very relaxed way – oh I have a lot of time. Start it with a full swing as later you might not be as energetic as you might be at the start. The first year is the most crucial year. Start it well and your life will be easy later.

𝟏𝟎. 𝐅𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐝𝐢𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟: At the start, most of the PhD students are directionless – what to do, what’s going on, days are passing by and I am not doing anything. Learn how to find your way forward right from the start.

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