Monday, September 11, 2006

Surviving your PhD

Hi all,

It had been very long time since I have blogged something interesting…. I was very busy with my PhD work and trying to write my first paper to be published….I was Pissed, frustrated, got pain ………while trying to write something new or something that never existed in software design…….Then, I came across an interesting article about Surviving the PhD…….I feel its very tough to invent something new and useful for people like me who have huge experience in (Ctrl+X, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+v)…hahaha lets see how it goes…anyways here are few tips if you are planning to do a research……

Before you begin
  1. Compile a list of things you enjoy and what makes you feel relaxed.
  2. Collect cute quotes for the start of your chapters.
  3. Say goodbye to friends and loved ones.

During the write-up

  • Make a plan. It takes lots of time and comes in handy for making you feel depressed about your lack of progress. I managed to finish exactly 6 months after the finish day on my plan.
  • Ensure that your living and working environment are as clean as you normally have them. Otherwise they will be a source of endless frustration.
  • Do not do revisions online. Print the relevant pages out, mark up the correctionsin your favourite pen colour, and then incorporate the changes. This is moreefficient because you can ignore the text which you have not marked up. Sorry that this one isn't funny.
  • Rest, exercise, get massages, and generally take care of yourself.
  • You may feel the urge to add just one more chapter. Don't. 60 page chapters are not acceptable either.
  • Deal with RSI pain immediately. It is emotionally destructive and will onlyget worse. I used a combination of acupuncture, osteopathy, and Belgian beer.
  • Spend time with friends who are either sympathetic or are good distractions, preferably the latter.
  • Do not begin relationships. You are not human.
  • Every now and again take time to relax and enjoy yourself. Consult the list you created in Step 1. Belgian beers are useful.
  • Going to conferences is a bad idea. They invariably inspire new ideas, something you don't need right now.
  • You are more effective when your brain is switched off.
  • Use stress to get through the boring bits.Save them for last.
  • Do not look out the window. The weather will invariably be beautiful and lots of Dutch girls will be riding by on their bicycles. This is a depressing sight for someone trapped behind a computer.
  • Now is not the time to learn to juggle 5 balls.
  • Avoid where possible taking a job until you are really really close to finishing (or actually finished).
  • If you do happen to start a job, find as many full days as you can to work onthe thesis, without running yourself into the ground.
  • Do not write web pages like this until you have actually submitted.
  • At some point you have to throw in the towel and say, "That's enough." Ensure that you have finished before reaching this point.

And when you do finish:

  1. Congratulate yourself. You deserve it. Belgian beers help here also.
  2. Apologise to everybody you know while they congratulate you. Ensure that they pay for the beer.
  3. Make them call you Doctor for practice.
  4. Gloat.Say that it only took you 2 years to complete and that the write-up took only 6 weeks.

Any other points are always welcome provided you are a Doctor (PhD or a Research Worker)