Welcome to the PhD Dojo!

In the 4th installment of the “First Year PhD” series, I share with you some mindset advice for making sure you have a healthy start to your PhD adventure.

Below, you’ll find the full – edited to be read – transcript of the live taping of this episode.



Hi ! Welcome to the PhD Dojo. Today’s subject – Show up

If you’ve been following this series and the blueprint I’ve been laying out for you, at this point, you’ve charted your ideal journey, you’ve started to assemble your PhD village and you’ve made sure all important communication channels are open for you.

So, if you charted your map, What you have to do now is – start at point A and try your best to hit the milestones you set for yourself

  • Your PhD is going to be a long endeavour, and the satisfaction of ticking those checkboxes will be your main fuel along the way
  • But… Allow for corrections and changes. THEY. WILL. HAPPEN. And it’s part of the process.
  • The important thing is : Don’t let them bring you down.
  • Just breathe, collect yourself, and Recalculate your route.
  • And remember – you’re not alone ! make use of the communication channels and of your village to help you race your new path.
  • Set-backs are not an expression of your worth (or lack of it) as a researcher. If they trigger your impostor feelings – which is probable – remind yourself that you deserve to be where you are and that they’re part of the growth process that is graduate school.
  • Everyone faces them – your peers, your seniors… So actually, in a way, they just mean you’re part of the club, now.

Now… I just mentioned the impostor phenomenon as a side-effect of hitting stumbling blocks in grad school, but another pitfall they can send you into is – Tunnel Vision

It’s easy to get lost in your research, especially if things are not going as planned. You can start shutting down different aspects of your personal life thinking you’ll then be able to focus only on your research and fix whatever is not working.

This is a trap! And no matter what’s happening on the research side, you should NEVER:

  • Overlook your social life or health habits or
  • Over-identify with your results

Always keep the big picture in mind. Attend seminars and events in other departments. Keep an eye on careers people in your field are pursuing, and think of what you could be doing on the side to increase the chances of landing your dream job down the road.

And this is it for this week’s PhD Dojo! I hope application season is going well and that this advice is helping you in your journey.

Looking forward to being in your ears !

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Click here to share your key take-away from this interview with David!

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