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PhD Survival

Coping with Bereavement as a PhD Student

Imagine being a PhD student whose life mostly revolves around the lab until you are hit by the worst news of your life. You have just lost one or both of your parents and bereavement sets in. You still cannot really believe it, spend your nights crying, and find yourself grappling with a whole pile…

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How to Reduce Panic Over Thesis Writing

The mere mention of thesis writing causes many students to instantly reach for their panic button. I was no different. I was freaking out about the mere thought of all that writing. However, after successfully preparing and defending my thesis, I learned that the process is just that, a process. Below are 5 points I…

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How to Leave the Lab in the Lab

Let’s face it, when you leave the lab for the day, your mind is still racing with ideas and questions about your experiment: how to fix this or what went wrong or what does this data point even mean. It can be difficult to actually shut down and decompress when you walk out of the…

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The Trials and Errors in Earning a PhD

The scientific method naturally includes the so-called “trial and error” approach. And you can think of your PhD experience in the same way. My PhD experience is a long story, and I’ve made a lot of mistakes. Therefore, I’ll share some of my trials and errors in earning a PhD to help you avoid the…

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Tips for Dealing with Research Failures

“It didn’t WORK!” The panic was tangible. Anyone who performs PCR on a regular basis is used to the ups and downs involved, but it occurred to me that this might be the first time in the student’s academic life where he had actually failed at something.

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3 Tips to Get That Research Mojo Back

Let’s face it. We all have one of those days in which we ask ourselves, “Why did I choose to become a scientist? What was I thinking?” Help cure cancer. Solve the issue of global warming. Save the rainforest. Passion for knowledge. Be the next Albert Einstein. Whatever your reason was for choosing a research…

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Dealing with PhD Blues

As a dual-degree MD/PhD student I spent two years in the medical school doing classroom learning, now I’m in the lab trying to get a PhD, and then in a few years I’ll return for the last two years of medical school and work in the hospital. In this process, I’ve heard a lot about…

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Top Tips for Reducing PhD Nightmares

PhDs have been known for their nightmarish effects on students’ psychological wellbeing, to the point that the acronym PhD has also been dubbed ‘Permanent Head Damage’, ‘Philosophically Disturbed’ or ‘Please Help. Desperate’. Doing a PhD is an emotionally exhausting experience rather than being physically challenging. Here are some tips on how to survive the PhD…

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Dealing with tension and conflict in the lab

A busy research lab can be a challenging place to work for a variety of reasons. Science is a high pressure environment, often with looming grant or research paper deadlines, troublesome reagents, and experimental failure. Combined, these factors can cause many kinds of strife in the workplace, here are a few examples and some of my top tips for dealing with them!

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How to Switch PhD Advisors

You’ll know when it’s time to go. Maybe it was when she changed your project for the sixth time in six months, though your thesis proposal deadline was rapidly approaching and you had nothing to present. Or maybe it was when he screamed at you for not updating the lab Facebook page, even when he…

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Taking Care of Your Mental Health

This article mentions of suicidal thoughts. If you are having thoughts of self-harm, I encourage finding someone to talk to. It can be a family member, friend, or professional counselor. Many countries also have suicide hotlines. Mental Health is often not a priority for institutions or individuals in academia. Making institutions friendlier will take time,…

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How to Choose the Right PhD Lab

Have you read an article How To Start Your PhD The Right Way? If you have, then you may have already decided that you are going to do a PhD. The next step is to choose your supervisor – this is a very important decision to make. When I chose my supervisor, I had only…

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Top Factors to consider before applying to a lab

In today’s times, fierce competition exists in the field of science and technology for positions like Ph.D. or research assistantships. Hence, gaining such a coveted place in a new lab is indeed a moment of exultation for any student. However, it is extremely important that before we embark upon this new journey, we make some…

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How to Deal with Stress of a Research Project Examination

A scientist’s life is full of stress. An experiment is not working— stress, experiment working but producing results opposite to the previous one— stress, somebody using the last of the reagent you need now— more stress. But these are unexpected stresses, small and overcome easily. The ‘planned stresses’ such as meetings with your supervisor or…

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6 Common Fears When Entering the Lab and How to Deal With Them

The prospect of walking into the lab for the first time to do some ‘real’ research is hugely exciting. Ambitious thoughts fill your mind about what a brilliant research scientist you are about to become, making that all-important difference and saving the world. That is, until you step over the threshold and The Fear overcomes…

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