I am sure its same with everyone in early stage of PhD but I needed to know other's experience.
I have just started my PhD in China 3 months ago. Moving from UK to china itself has been a big change to adjust with but that is something I am coping will with.
But in my Lab I tend to make silly mistakes at times. e.g, I have never used goldenGate assembly but my collegues told and guided me how to make GG primers but I still ended up making mistake delaying the plasmid by a week. SIlly mistakes like this and others have really made me doubt if I am made for PhD or am I just not smart enough for it.
I tend to spend atleast 10hrs every working day and sometimes 11 or even 13hrs at times in lab most days either experimenting or reading. But still feel its not enough. and even come by on weekends at times.
All this makes me feel like I might be wasting my time here but I love what I do although I make mistakes. I have tried to slow myself down and think before doing stuff it has helped me avoid stuoid mistakes but still the doubt stays.
Help and advice and suggestion would be much appreciated.
It is a lot to move halfway across the world and start a PhD. We all make mistakes when we start, for instance for two weeks I was incubating my plates the wrong side up and couldn't figure out why nothing was grown. Keep with it though. I always found writing out the step to experiment before I started beneficial, as well as having everything I would need organised and laid out in the order they are needed. I am presuming you are doing a lot of molecular work, which can be very temperamental. Make sure if you're stuck you ask for help or seek guidance. We have all been there before. I have help new PhD student in the lab and much prefer when the come looking for help, to take notes and ask as many questions as they like and come back to me if they're still confused/stuck. A PhD is a learning experience, you'll have highs and lows and its all about finding the right balance.
@Nead - Thanks your suggestions and advice helps. I have been putting more importance on planning for past few weeks and taking my time before starting and designing experiments. It has helped me limit the silly mistakes.
One thing I do have is good people to guide me which has kept me going. So I am trying to take full advantage of it.
Take a break! Take a few days off to relax and de-stress. You will come back with a better perspective and your quality of work will improve. Burnout is a real thing and you should learn to recognize if you have it.
Working these sorts of hours every day is totally unsustainable and sooner or later you will burnout and you may find you can't easily recover from it.
Life is a marathon not a sprint. You have at least a 40 year career to think about so slow things down a bit.
@pm133 - Ya thing is everyone else in my lab here in China works 13hrs a day regularly. Which kind a makes me feel like I am not working enough even if I work 11hrs everyday.
But ya you are right I cant let it get to me. I am trying to keep a maximum 9-10hrs and have some time to myself after work.
It would help me ease of all the stress and empty my mind. Thanks for the support all.
I agree with pm133. It is a common mistake we all make. There is a big work cultural difference between Asia and Europe. You have to see if it is realistic to work for 10 hours a day for 3-4 years. I knew people who spent sometime in Japan and they liked everything except work culture. You have to be sure that you "can" work 10 hours a day and it is either "accepted by other" or you are able to ignore what they say/look/feel about it.
Otherwise quitting is still an option. The early you take the decision, the less consequences it has.
I had a colleague who would arrive 9am and leaver 7/8pm per day including weekends, yet she never ever met any deadlines, was always crying and had poor mental heath as a result of it. Their supervisor never encouraged this. What I did with my PhD was I would normally arrive at 9am every weekday and finish around 5/6pm. I would have people make comments about how little I worked. Funny thing was I was the first to hand in my thesis and complete the PhD out of everybody who started at the same time as me. My supervisor had a policy of I don't care what hours you work as long as I see you at some point in the day and you get the job done. Obviously, this is hard to do in the culture you're in but trust me if you are not careful you will burn out. My advice is to make sure you do what your supervisors want done. Then if you are bored in the evening or the weekend and feel like doing work do some but don't worry too much about it. I got my PhD without working most weekends. Breaks are the key to success as are holidays.
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