The pressure and workload experienced by PhD students can feel exhausting. Mitigating negative consequences, such as burn out, will help you get the most from your experience as a student. By staying engaged, you will not only be better prepared for what follows graduation, but you’ll also feel more energized and supported.
It is pivotal to form connections with your peers, supervisors, and academics in your concentration of study. By establishing contacts and investing in relationships, partnerships and opportunities will arise. These connections are also a source of support because these people can understand your experience better than anyone else since they are either going through it or have been there. An article by the Guardian suggests utilizing the internet as a way to build connections. Platforms like LinkedIn are designed for these purposes. The same article also suggests taking a multidisciplinary approach to developing a lens for your research and therefore, branching out to other departments by attending seminars and conferences. Submitting your work to conferences is also a huge opportunity to establish a name for yourself.
Securing a teaching position will help you gain the experience needed for a life in academia. Developing strong leadership and organizational skills are equally as important, especially for increasing employability upon the completion of the PhD program. Therefore, consider organizing and hosting a workshop or symposium, which will double as excellent networking opportunities.
Take initiative by starting a blog or hosting a workshop for other students. This will challenge you to put yourself out there, make contacts, and organize academic information into a format that can be shared easily with public. In fact, acquiring funding for a workshop presents an opportunity to practice your grant writing skills. A career in academia requires being able to persuade funders into supporting your research.
Overall, lean into opportunities but discern carefully between what to take on. It is important to not accept every option that comes your way, but instead fully invest in what you commit to. Overextending oneself as a PhD candidate is discouraged because it can lead to setbacks like an unnecessary extended duration in the program, burnout, and ineffective work habits. Last, learn to accept rejection and don’t let it get in the way of putting yourself out there.