The first year of being an PhD student

It is not something new. In a world of reasearchers, it seems as if everyone knows how it feels to be a PhD student. You are usually very young and just finished your Master’s degree and then thought that you will manage the rest that will coming.

Well, it is kinda true. In a very weird and twisted way.

Fig. 1: Everyone’s including my first impression.

At first, you meet your colleagues and it seems that they wing it quite easily. Then, the reality check comes in. You read your project description and thought: Oh wow, that’s interesting, but how am I gonna do THAT (s. Fig. 1)?

The first meeting I had after the registration as a PhD student was with a mentor who said that within the three years you will face three crisis. Sounds like a bad quota, since it includes a kind of “life crisis” after the material crisis and before the ending your PhD crisis.

The funny thing is that all of the three crisis are happening simultaneously, but you are still alive and curious what will happen to your work and life next. Nothing is really predictable, but you have all the options and possibilities to try your way through this process. In my case, I just started with a material which is not what the project description stated. With that, I could develop my methods step by step. Along the way, I questioned the choice many times. I spoke to my doctorate supervisors and they all told me the same thing: Yeah, I also started with a “model material”.

So by the time, I got some of the the relevant material, I had an idea how to path the way to work through the first challenges of the project. I had to learn that you don’t have to do everything alone and that it is nice to talk about your concerns with the “old rabbits” as my supervisors would call themselves. The material crisis is still there, also the life crisis, and there are times where I am not sure where this will lead me. But I also found out that everyone have the same struggles and that makes it more manageable and, honestly, fun to watch 🙂

1 Response

  1. Susan says:

    “Life is like a box of chocolate – you never know what you will get.”

    One of my favourite quotes, and so true in many ways (actually, it’s like a blueprint for every aspect in life). There will be always ups and downs, one wouldn’t exist without the other. We all learn from experience. And the best part of all this – EVERYONE has to go through this, you are never alone in it. 😉

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