Tips for PhD students in their 2nd year of PhD
Hello everyone! I shared with you the most important lessons that you will learn in your first year of PhD. Thank you again for reading my article. I appreciate your interest in each lesson and how it is related to your own experience.
After I have finished advising the freshmen, here are some additional tips for PhD students in their second year and those about to enter their second year.
You don’t stop learning lessons even after you have survived your first year. Many PhD graduates who have been successful would agree that the second year is crucial.
You should have made a decision about your thesis topic by this time. Most PhD programs require that students submit a progress report or research plan during their second year. These reports usually consist of between 500 and 2000 words.
Is your research paper ready? Are you still unsure about the process?
These important tips for PhD students will help you avoid a lot of trouble when reaching another milestone.
Tip 1: Create a definite workflow structure
You’ll realize how much you don’t know until you get to the second level in your PhD program. This is a common problem, especially for students who work remotely.
Sometimes it can be easy to feel bored when you are all alone. Insecurity and loneliness can make it difficult to be productive.
How do you deal with this? One of my top tips for PhD students in this situation is to make a schedule.
A work schedule that is ideal must have a plan and a flow you can use to continue your research on a daily basis. You must be able to get your act together, regardless of whether you like it.
How many pages should you plan to complete today, for example? What date are you going to re-examine data samples you collected three days back?
To motivate yourself to work hard, set goals and establish deadlines. Make sure that you reward yourself for reaching each goal. This will help you to do better each day.
Tip 2 – Know your preferences
Each person has their own unique method of focusing. Some students are more productive working with lab mates than others.
Some prefer to work outside of the lab, while others prefer the inside. You need to understand your preferences so that you can work effectively.
Identify your weak spots and strengths, and then concentrate on the latter. You can use the following questions to guide you:
Do you prefer to read a paper in hardcopy or do you prefer to use your computer to access it?
Do you multitask? Or do you prefer to finish one chapter before moving on to the next?
Tip 3: Find your drive
Nearly everyone in their second year of life will admit how frustrated they feel. You’ll often hear more complaints about isolation and rants than you will have about having a good time.
Recognize that you are not alone if you feel the same. You will soon feel better.
To overcome the obstacles of getting a PhD, you must not force yourself. Take a break if you are tired. You can stroll along the university corridor with your friends and have some chitchat.
Sometimes shopping can make you feel guilty. This will motivate you to write your thesis the next morning.
You must grasp self-help when you are in your second year. Don’t blame your university or other people for your difficulties. Instead, look for the things that drive you.
Tip 4: Recall why you entered PhD in the first place
Did you ever realize that the best thing you could have done was to stop starting?
There are many factors that can make you question your self-worth when you’re in your second years. These could include loneliness, financial problems, and peer pressure.
Sometimes, school-related factors such as a lack of supervision, a poor laboratory or the failure of experiments can make you insane. You feel like you aren’t getting a PhD any more.
Don’t lose heart. Do not let this happen to you.
Remember how happy you felt every year when you made progress in your first year. How did you do it? Is it possible to find the drive again and continue your journey.
Imagine how happy your family will be when you tell them that you are graduating. Be positive and believe in your abilities.
Tip 5: Find an alternative place to conduct your research
Many PhD students face the problem of not having enough space to work. Students in small universities must conduct experiments in lecture halls between classes.
Don’t limit yourself to the university’s guidelines if this is you case. You can be more creative and look for a different place to conduct your experiments. You can transform your garage into a workspace.
You can also check to see if there is space available for rent in the area that suits your needs. Spend more time outside and focus on data collection. Your experiments should be done one-time-big.
Tip 6: Find another supervisor
The second year of your PhD is the ideal time to establish a strong working relationship with your supervisor. But not all relationships are successful.
Your supervisor may pressure you to concentrate on a topic that is completely different from the one you are interested in. Sometimes your supervisor is too vague and you wish that you had the intelligence to point out these issues. You don’t have the ability to do so because your supervisor might fail you.
Disagreements and casual difficulties can cause an estrangement that makes you less productive.
You need a solid break-up plan if you feel that your personalities are incompatible. You can, for example, talk to your science department and get advice about possible solutions. You can also have an open conversation with your supervisor if you are brave enough to address the issue.
You can also write a letter to your supervisor informing them that you are taking a semester off and changing the scope of your thesis.
Remember to never hold grudges with your supervisor if you break up your relationship. You don’t want to make enemies with someone who is in charge of the science department.
Tip 7: Be open to changes
The direction of your thesis may change as well, just like your relationship with your supervisor.
It’s possible that your experiments produce different results. It is possible that your supervisor will advise you to modify the scope of your thesis in response to unexpected experimental changes or new discoveries. This is fine.
The second year of a PhD is an exciting time for experimentation, discovery, and deeper research. You will have to make significant changes as part of the process.
I would advise you to go with the flow. Tell your supervisor about the changes. Ask for help in determining the best way to handle them. Further experiments are needed to verify that your data yields the same results.
Next, examine the possible impact of these changes and determine if it is for you. If not, you should be open to larger changes in your research. It is possible to need to change your research topic, or use the opportunity to conduct new tests.
Tip 8: Watch thesis defense presentations
Watching thesis defense presentations is a great way to motivate yourself mentally. It is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences you will ever experience.
You will defend your thesis sooner than you think. Take a look at some thesis defense presentations to see how other researchers present their research and arguments.
This is a highly intellectual experience that can stimulate your mind and motivate you to work harder on your thesis. This helps you to understand the best ways to respond to questions from the panel members. You will also get a better understanding of the opinions of judges so that you can make appropriate modifications to your thesis before you sit down.
Sometimes you can get a lot of ideas from sitting still and feel ready to start writing again.
Tip 9: Have a “Question and Answer” drill with your friends or lab mates
Practice with friends is the best way to spot problems you may have missed and be prepared for unexpected questions.
Let others look at your thesis, and ask them questions about the sections you’ve already completed.
These questions are not necessarily the questions you’ll be asked by panel members but they can help open your mind and allow you to explore other possibilities.
You can build confidence and improve your vision by practicing. You never know, your friend may ask a very important question that can only be answered by another test of the data you have collected.
Tip 10: Be positive
These tips can be summarized into one simple advice: Be positive.
No matter what happens in your second year, you should never lose your spirit. Whatever happens, don’t lose sight of what you want to become – that is a PhD holder.
Never lose your positive attitude.
These are my top tips for PhD students in their second year, as well as those still considering enrolling. These tips will be helpful to you on your PhD journey.
Feel free to leave comments below. I’d be happy to reply to you.