How proper planning can help with the timely completion of a PhD
PhD is not the Destination,
It’s a Journey, Challenging though.
Work hard, Enjoy it and
Hit that Goal.
The doctoral journey is a challenging task. Although the number of PhD enrollments are increasing every year but the doctoral candidate attrition rates are so high that sometimes those who start their PhD never finish it or those who finish it takes more time than initially planned.
An increase in the rate of dropouts of the doctoral candidates is a matter of concern for Universities as well. First, PhD education is costly. Millions are spent on doctoral candidates’ scholarships every year which might stand useless if the candidates drop out without any significant research. Second, it directly or indirectly affects a university’s reputation since its research output is largely dependent on the work done by doctoral candidates.
Apart from that, an increase in the mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and depression among PhD students requires us to work on the satisfaction, progress and retention of Doctoral candidates. Looking at all these factors it becomes crucial to discuss “how proper planning can help with the timely completion of a PhD”.
Factors to consider that will help you complete your PhD quickly:
- PCP formula: The formula stands for patience, competency and perseverance. Although the competency varies from student to student, patience and perseverance are a key to all. The experiments don’t work at times, not all research papers are accepted in one go, what is required is continuous efforts and patience. Getting disheartened or desperate will only delay things.
- Student–Guide Relationship: You have got the PCP formula right but to make it work for you and to make the journey comfortable and quick, a healthy student-guide relationship is very essential. Getting support from the faculty, University system and the PhD supervisor motivates a student and decreases the chances of dropout. This role goes beyond the classroom as the supervisor must be well informed of their student’s needs, struggles and challenges throughout the PhD degree process.
Students, however must also work towards making this relationship a mutual beneficial one by following the below mentioned tips:
- Maintain a positive proactive behavior
- Develop a mutual trust through clear communication
- Share your visions and objectives with your guide
- Seek help when stuck with a challenging situation
- Psychological factors: The PhD tenure brings with it a lot of stress and anxiety. The scholars during this process goes through a transition phase from a student into a new position with new responsibilities (research assistance/ Projects and Funding). If a proper support is not rendered it leads to conflicts and overload affecting the mental health.
It is thus very essential that the PhD scholar practices a healthy routine. Practicing meditation and disciplined lifestyle with help cope up with unwanted stress. Instead of expecting your mentor to understand all your hard-work and yet the failures, try communicating and discussing your problems. Remember it is not just about finishing up the course as quickly as possible. It’s about learning and growing while being efficient at your work.
- A proper plan: The thing about planning your PhD is, don’t expect the plans to work exactly as your desired. Keep a room for flexibility as you progress.
- The entire PhD process has different stages- Enrollment, Course Work, Synopsis Submission, Viva-Voice, Thesis Writing, and Defense. Each stage has its own importance and challenges and must be wisely exploited. The course work for instance must be utilized to grow your knowledge in related subjects. Many students in the intention of getting through their project work quickly, make the mistake of avoiding the course work. They end up getting frustrated later, trying to understand certain concepts they missed that can now be used in their thesis work.
- Keep your focus on deciding your thesis problem once you have gone through the course work and read several related researches. Draw a tentative outline of your thesis work and jot down the objectives. Keep refining your thesis outline as you progress with your work and NEVER make the mistake of procrastinating it to be done after you finish with your research. Keep adding matter to the drawn outline.
- Whatever articles you read and find relevant, keep a well-organized record of all. This will help save time while writing research paper. Keep all the related articles under one folder. Once you have read sufficient papers, you can draft a review article out of it.
- Thesis writing is a stage that demands lot of time on organizing, editing and formatting the data. Remember: Write first, edit later. To save your time, hire a professional editor. Companies like Advaita Services have subject matter experts who will edit, proofread, format and polish your research articles, thesis, project reports, etc. so you can utilize your time writing or completing other mandatory tasks.
Challenges that can delay your PhD and hence requires special attention:
- Selecting a topic: Unique, interesting and relevant topic is difficult to select. You must discuss your topic with your colleagues and your supervisor. Be sure that the work is feasible before you start working on it. A wrong topic can cost you precious time and efforts.
- Time Management: Work with deadlines. Set a strict timeline and follow it religiously. Allot a part of the day for reading research articles, another part for experiments and a part for organizing your work.
- Work-life balance: Coming out from a college life and entering a PhD is no mean thing to do. The work load disrupts your work-life balance. A PhD scholar often gets disconnected with the outside world and might feel isolated and depressed. It is thus very essential to work on achieving a balance. Set a day or two completely off for you. Go out. Enjoy things you love doing and give a break to yourself. It will re-energize you and bring a positive outlook towards your work.
I hope I covered all important points which might help you get through your PhD quickly and efficiently. Happy researching and don’t forget to post any related enquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org