Here are 10 traits of highly effective PhD students:
𝟏. 𝐂𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬: A good PhD student is curious about the various aspects of his/her research. The student is eager to find answers to what, why, how, and when. Anything not known triggers him/her to dig deeper and find it out. The student asks high-quality questions.
2. 𝐎𝐩𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐜𝐮𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬: An effective PhD student does not restrict oneself to his/her cabin. The student discusses the ideas with supervisors, lab mates, and other relevant people. The student is willing to provide feedback and happy to take feedback.
3. 𝐂𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤𝐞𝐫: A good PhD student develops the ability of critical thinking early in PhD journey. He/she reflects on research pieces to determine what are its strengths and weaknesses, how we can improve the weaknesses, where are the gaps, and so on.
4. 𝐎𝐩𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐬𝐦: An effective PhD student does not take criticism of his/her research personally. He/she reflects on the criticism to understand how the research can be improved. He/she is not afraid of putting his/her research in front of others just because of the fear of criticism.
5. 𝐑𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐟𝐮𝐥: A good PhD student is respectful to his/her supervisors, lab mates, other researchers, and their research. He/she is able to communicate their points in a respectful manner. He/she does not boost his/her own research nor does undermine other people’s research
6. 𝐆𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐨𝐫: A good PhD student is an excellent communicator. He/she can communicate research in different ways such as through research papers, presentations, posters, and so on. He/she can communicate complex concepts in simple words
7. 𝐊𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐬 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐥𝐞 𝐟𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐮𝐫𝐞: PhD life can have failures in one form or another. A good PhD student knows how to handle failures and does not get motivated easily. He/she works hard consistently and does not expect a big return in little time.
8. 𝐄𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐨 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐧: An effective PhD student does not shy away from learning something new. He/she is always willing to learn new things and apply them in their research in the best possible way. The student is not lazy to settle for the bare minimum.
𝟗. 𝐈𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭: The purpose of PhD is to convert the student into an independent researcher. A good PhD student does not expect to be spoon-fed. At the same time, he/she discusses and seeks feedback from the supervisors. As the PhD progress, the student becomes more and more independent.
𝟏𝟎. 𝐑𝐢𝐬𝐤 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐫: A good PhD does not shy away from taking risks. He/she explores adventurous ideas. Moreover, the student takes initiative with well-defined aims as to what to take away from the initiative.
Writer: Faheem Ullah
Computer Science, Australia