This is about the 5th time i've started writing a post, but not finished it because I felt like an idiot. anyway, this time I am going to post it.
I am about 10 weeks into my PhD and don't really seem to know what I'm doing. I keep asking people in the department if this is normal and they keep saying yes, it's fine, but im not sure whether they are just being nice. I did my undergrad (BSc) in Physics at a top 10 uni and I have to admit that I was a little lazy, didn't do much work at all but managed to get a good degree and went straight to the PhD telling myself that I was capable, just lazy. I like totally emersing myself in a project and hate exams so it's perfect really. The first month went fine, but now i seem to have lost a bit of momentum, my supervisors have left me to my own devices recently and Im slipping back into lazy mode.
So my question is: Honestly, is this normal and what can I do to prevent it?
Thank you very much for reading and I apologise if you have read this post a billion times before.
Just a quick one....
1. I think it's normal to feel like you're treading water until well into your first year.
2. Are you actually being lazy? It's worth asking yourself this, as I'm constantly convinced that everyone else is doing more work than I am.
3. It might be worth setting up a supervision to enable you to chat to your supervisors about your concerns about both of your expectations meeting.
Sorry I couldn't be more helpful, I do think it's normal though!!
Absolutely, it is normal. Check out this essay by Martin A. Schwartz on "The importance of stupidity in scientific research"
It might not necessarily give you what you wanted to hear/read, but it might help you to understand where you are at!
Been there, done that, have the tshirt in assorted colours :-) You're 10 weeks in, the shiny newness has worn off and the reality of the grind kicks in!
To combat the lazy aspect then make yourself do some work every day - turn off the tv if you're at home, disconnect the internet, go off somewhere else to work if necessary and just grind through an hour promising yourself a break at the end of it. You do have to be very self disciplined (something I'm hopeless at) and understand that this is not a sprint like the BA, going from course to course, essay to essay, exam to exam, but that this is a marathon and you pace yourself and work steadily. You'll feel you're getting nowhere, you'll get down, you'll get annoyed, you'll threaten to chuck it in frequently if my experience is anything to go by, but so long as you're working away you will get there - the pace just feels very very different to UG study and even to MA study and its hard to adjust to. I'm sure you're doing just fine - just pace yourself and make sure you do something constructive each day even if it means taking extreme measures like disconnecting the hub lol :-) (says she online when she should be reading - although the stuff I'm reading is online.... must close this tab :-p)
I like the paper because it is true!
I know that I'm not being lazy really, I put in my hours during the week and generally don't waste too much time when im in uni so I can rest when I'm not. I'm going to be be spending a considerable amount of time on a train with one of my supervisors soon so I will have a chat with him about it. I was a bit unsure as to whether I should or not, but if you guys think it is best then i'll give it a go.
I was having a think and realised it was the meeting reports that freak me out. I feel like I have to have something new, or at least a graph of something, for them to be worthwhile to the supervisor and so far this time I have nothing.
Do you guys have to do this? What do you do if you have been learning something new or unrelated (e.g. I need to learn CAD at some stage) and haven't really got anything to show?
Thanks again for the help
In my view, it is very common in the 1st year of a PhD, and especially in the 1st term, to start out being really disciplnied and doing 40 hours of work ni the 1st 2 or 3 weeks and then starting to feel like it all has no direction, that it's all just ground-clearance, and that no one within the department is pushing you to do anything anyway. This is normal. It is certainly how I felt in the first 6 months of mine - I seemed to spend far more time reading for the research methods classes I had to undertake than doing much "actual" PhD work.
anberlin, i agree with everyone below me. its perfectly normal!!!
i dont think its lazyness. i think sometimes theres so much to do, or you dont know what to do, that you just end up not doing anything.
the advice given below about giving yourself something to study each day, is a good one. even if its just one hour of studying. give yourself a small task to accomplish everyday. whether its reading a paper and making notes on it. or whatever. and also the advice about keeping a diary of what you do everyday is good too!
so just get stuck in and do something everyday and hold yourself accountable. say to yourself, you cant do X (which is something you enjoy) until you've done ZY (something related to your phd).
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