It is Dr. for you, beaches!

February 23, 2015

Yeap!, it seems that finally I did make it. I’ve completed my PhD thesis and now I can add the Dr. in my business card (this is something that is hardly likely to happen, since I don’t like the Dr. title, and I also hate having a business card). So the birds are singing and the sun is shining (that’s the pun about the beaches on the title), at least for me. There is the quote from Randy Pausch

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.

and given that it took me a lot of time to complete it .. I can argue that I have gained a lot of experience. So I can share some of it with my faithful readers (Yeap all the two of you). Following the usual pattern I’ll present an unsorted list of random thoughts. I believe that each one is different so most of the following stuff might not be applicable, but some people might find them interesting.

  • One of the most useful tools is the log book. You have to log everything that you do, or plan to do, and finally all the results. Perhaps this is the MOST important tool in order to complete research successfully. The moment I started to keep a log book with ideas, experiments, results, questions, etc. it was the moment that my work got a lot of boost and I was able to move forward. Document as much as possible, it is better to have more information than lack of information.
  • Also keep the raw results of your experiments, simulations etc. It might be a small waste of space, but you never know when you might have another great idea for further analysis, and realize that all is gone, and you have to redo the whole process (insert double facepalm here).
  • Review the papers that you find important thoroughly.  I was lazy, and I kept only a few notes on each one. In the end when I wanted to write the related work section, I had to redo the whole procedure. If I had kept good notes (see previous bullet) a lot of wasted effort would be avoided
  • Write, write, write. I hate writing (one of the reasons that it took so long), but it is essential. Have a look in this video. Then have another look. The important take away is that we can think more clearly when we write, than when we just think.
  • The supervisor plays a very important role. What you prefer from your supervisor is a matter of personal test. What I valued was freedom to study and try different things. Thankfully, my direct supervisor gave me the freedom I wanted. So choose your supervisor as best as you can, if possible (I was lucky in this regard). Also the supervisor acts as a reality check for your progress.
  • Don’t forget the rest of your life.You are still a student, so you can have a different time management and priorities compared with someone that works in the industry. This doesn’t mean that you can work less (you might work more), but your schedule can be more flexible. PhD is a marathon (ok not as big as i did it) and not a sprint. You need to take care of other aspects of life or you might become out of fuel. Human relationships are able to prevent the tank from emptying permanently
  • Exercise. Helps not only the body, but also the brain
  • Find great teachers and learn from their ways. This plays an important role if you like to teach (I do)
  • Find also another field that interests you and try to learn a bit. This helps to prevent your mind to be hyper focused, making you live only on your own little world. (For some periods this is necessary, but not for the long run). Thankfully, I met people (1,2) who offered their knowledge and bared with me.
  • A small piece of advice: If you feel disappointed at some point, in the end when you see the final version of your Thesis, your disappointment will reduce.  (The supervisor again is important for the reality check in some cases)

Now I can join the rest of you .. on the beaches 😉

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One Response to “It is Dr. for you, beaches!”

  1. apostoloss Says:

    Congratulations!!!!

    Enjoy the party 🙂


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