just started a PhD! Any advice???


I just started a self-funded PhD in Cardiovascular Medicine Research last week. I'm still feeling a bit lost. Any advice on how to be a good PhD student? Oh , and another thing...does a PhD affect one's love life?


Don't get into a romantic/sexual relationship with your supervisor!


lol....there are no chances for that kind of thing. I am asking because I have a boyfriend.


depends how understanding the partner is.. i.e do they see how important it is. or do they still think of you as student etc?


seriously though - it helps a great deal if you are inspired and dedicated to your area of research, it'll help you through the 4-ish years of hard work. And another tip - do not get caught up in the politics of your lab. If you must be involved, then learn to play your cards well. And always maintain your integrity.


Good advices so far. One thing however, don't expect too much out of your research in the first few months. People get worked up and depressed when things do not progress as quickly as they envisaged. I am in the same situation. Although i would love my project to move quite quickly, i've learned it doesn't reall work like that. Best wishes!


Does your boyfriend have an academic background as well?


Thanx guys. He has an MSc but is not a scientist however, he's been supportive about the whole thing. Am just wondering whether a PhD usually puts a strain on relationships. Anyway, the issue am after here is on general advice for new Phd students like me who dont know details of what to expect and how best to "do a PhD" if you get what I mean...


Well if your boyfriend has an academic background, particularly an MSc, he should understand the kind of work that goes into a PhD.


There is no reason why doing a PhD should prevent you having a love life. You will under pressure and be a bit stretched at times but that is life whether you are in employment or doing a PhD. It boils down to what your partner is like. If they are supportive and your relationship is strong then there should be no problem.. If your partner gets arsey with you while doing a PhD then I guess its a good chance to see their true colours. I am lucky in that my partner is doing a PhD aswell so understands what the whole system is like.

At the end of the day your PhD shouldn't control your life, treat it like a job.. set yourself 'working hours' and try to stick to them, obviously you will have to work late sometimes and work longer when you have reports due etc. I think the best advice I got when I started my PhD was to make sure I kept a busy personal life and don't allow it to be overtaken by my working life.. It seems to work well for me so far


"If your partner gets arsey with you while doing a PhD then I guess its a good chance to see their true colours."

I like this statement.


PhDs definitely put a strain on a relationship, because it is time consuming, pressured and eats up a lot of spare time (that you could be spending with your partner). That said its a real test of a relationship. If it survives the PhD-era its likely it will survive the other ups and downs life will have to throw at it.

For women I think its even more telling, as issues around kids, contributing to housework and following ones own ambition come up. Its a good way to show up any "sexist" elements a male partner may have managed to hide.

Mine didn't survive (the aftermath of my PhD anyway), but in a way its better I found that out now than in the divorce courts, with most of my money gone on lawyers and having access to my kid on alternate Saturdays.


Hey Moji! I have to say...YES! The PhD definitely affects your love life, from my personal experience, and I don't think there's any getting around that one. The thing is, sometimes your partner (and anyone else for that matter) will be speaking to you, and you're just not there! Your mind is off decrypting, working through things you've read,trying to make sense of it all, etc. I would definitely agree with what some of the others have said, about partners being in academia themselves making a world of difference, as they will understand all of our idiosyncracies and wobbly moments.


it's a test of true love if either you or your partner is doing phd. i totally agree on this point.


thanx so much guys. Well, I'll keep that at the back of my mind and see how it goes I guess. My work is really important to me and I'll see if the relationship will stand the whole thing- especially the last two years!! Any advice as to what to do in the first few months to give ur supervisor (and myself) a good impression. I've been a rotten procrastinator at times in the past and I really dont want it to affect my PhD.