I am a new PhD student and this is the 2nd week in my PhD study. But I still don't know how to start, and what do I need to talk with my supervisor at this stage. There is no guidelines from the university and only 1 class a week, and I don't want to waste my time. I guess I need to ask for help from my supervisor, but I am afraid that the question 'how to start a PhD study' is too silly, so I can't start to talk with my supervisor. I know I lack technical fundamentals in research, so, could anyone give me some advice? thanks.
Every PhD is different and getting started is one of the hardest parts of a PhD. Before my PhD I had no research experience and was similarly lost but so was everyone else. Though I would suggest reading as much as you can. It doesn't need to be tailored but read whatever you find interesting or think is important so that you start building your wider knowledge. I personally think to many PhD students have no knowledge outside their niche area and getting a perspective of the wider field helps so much later on in your PhD. So just start reading without forcing it.
I agree with Rewt, you'll have plenty of background reading to do, and you'll be doing this throughout your phd. You have techniques to learn, previous research in your area to build on. You might not be doing physical work but now is when you have to start building your understanding of your topic, by the end of say 6-8 months you need a clear view on what you hope to achieve and how you plan to go about doing that. And then speaking from experience, that can all change rapidly and your work go in a completely different direction.
Don't worry about the first few months too much more than getting to grips with the ideas and past work in your field. And good luck!
I was in the exact same position as you and strongly, strongly recommend reading at least 'The Unwritten Rules of PhD Research' from this list. I bought a few of these books and that, along with 'How to get a PhD' by Philips (mentioned in the comments). I'm only a month in but feel completely lost too and these books have been more helpful than my university.
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