The “Secrets” for surviving PhD…or life in general

I recently attended our 3rd PhD Support Group meeting where this colleague of ours shared her experience and survival tips for completing her PhD. She is in her final year (6th year) and in the midst of writing up her thesis. She started her PhD journey by choosing the “split-site” part-time option because we are full-time academics who are not allowed to study full-time for too long a period. Basically the university just couldn’t pay our salary and at the same time we are not fulfilling our teaching load. So she took almost 6 years to complete her PhD and she did it with strong determination and dedication. She travels to meet her supervisor in UK every year for a 6-week period during our short semester and at the same time she is required to fulfil a full-time staff teaching workload for the one academic year.

When she shared her years of experience about the commitment to do well in her teaching job and the determination to complete her PhD, I was truly inspired. I know if I’m going to start my PhD journey, I will choose a path similar to hers. We might not have the same experience or struggle but I’m very sure I can learn so much from her experience and hopefully I can overcome any obstacle that comes my way.

What really surprised many of us was when she talked about her depression halfway through her journey. No one ever thought that she had depression all these past years while working with her. This made me realized that depression during Phd journey is very real and we must not take this lightly. Good news is she has recovered from depression after learning the following ‘Secrets’ which I copied from her sharing session and share them here.

1. Believing is seeing
2. There is no real problem
3. Change the thought that you dislike
4. We attract what we fear, so…
5. make a positive thought
6. Divert your thought to solution, instead of problem
7. Focus on the task, not the fear of the task
8. Let go and let god
9. Sleep well
10. Don’t forget to smell the rose – Enjoy what you do

I strongly believe support is very important from family and friends regardless in whatever journey we are embarking on. Since we are in academia, supports from colleagues and bosses are essential too. I’m truly blessed to have everyone’s support, including everyone who I interact here on my blog and on Twitter.

Thank you all for your support!

(I actually drafted this post early this month and works caught up so I forgot about this. Now that semester is coming to an end and I’m at my last class of public course, so here it is.)


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