Motivational advice

posted
09-Jan-19, 22:00
edited about 27 seconds later
Avatar for orchid11
posted about 2 months ago
Hi! I've just started my phd 3 months ago in a different field from my masters, moved to another country and feeling already low and overwhelmed perhaps by the culture differences. I've finished my project outline and has kind of a plan of what to do. But the problem is, I'm not sure how to approach it, because the techniques are totally new to me. I try to read up a lot but when I seen other people starting on their project although they started the same time as me, I feel like I'm stuck. There is this constant feeling that I'm not as smart as others although I should not feeling that way. I used to be really cheerful and happy but after starting this phd I feel like I'm not myself. I'm not sure if this is a common situation or do others feel the same way as me too?
posted
15-Jan-19, 23:44
edited about 5 seconds later
Avatar for LilyRachel
posted about 2 months ago
Hello, I feel exactly the same way (minus culture difference). I find it totally overwhelming! I have heard that it's very common, the word imposter syndrome is used a lot. I think that perhaps for some people (including me) the first year is hardest. It takes a long time to settle in, cut yourself some slack. You will get there! May I ask how you're doing now?
posted
17-Jan-19, 14:50
edited about 5 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 2 months ago
I am in my second year and half my project is a completely different field. I found that you just got to be patient as you can't become an expert in a day. Recognize everytime you do something new and try and learn something everyday. Asking people for help usually work and can result in new friends as well.

Also you will be surprised how many PhD students think they are idiots. Impostor syndrome is well studied in PhD students and is a separate issue that can be overcome with more practice, just don't let it beat you down. Getting a hobby and keeping a clear separation between social life and research can also help.
posted
17-Jan-19, 23:24
edited about 25 seconds later
Avatar for LilyRachel
posted about 2 months ago
One thing someone told me last week that's helping me a lot , is to remember that actually it's good you feel this way because it means you're challenging yourself. You're not stagnant , if it was easy then we wouldn't learn anything. It helps me to be more positive to think about that sometimes.
posted
20-Jan-19, 12:10
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 months ago
Quote From orchid11:
Hi! I've just started my phd 3 months ago in a different field from my masters, moved to another country and feeling already low and overwhelmed perhaps by the culture differences. I've finished my project outline and has kind of a plan of what to do. But the problem is, I'm not sure how to approach it, because the techniques are totally new to me. I try to read up a lot but when I seen other people starting on their project although they started the same time as me, I feel like I'm stuck. There is this constant feeling that I'm not as smart as others although I should not feeling that way. I used to be really cheerful and happy but after starting this phd I feel like I'm not myself. I'm not sure if this is a common situation or do others feel the same way as me too?


Starting a PhD itself is hard, let alone in a new country. Give yourself some time to adjust. On learning the techniques, could you ask an experienced technician or postdoc to show you the ropes? Reading and practical are two different things and you can learn so much quicker in person. Never be afraid to ask for help.
posted
20-Jan-19, 21:51
Avatar for orchid11
posted about 2 months ago
Thank you for all the encouraging advices! I do feel that the imposter syndrome is getting into me at the moment and it's taking a toll on my mental health. For now, I keep telling myself that as long as I learn something new everyday, it's a small progress, whether or not it will give me a PhD at the end. Also, I'm joining some sports and voluntary work to set some time away from work. To be honest I'm not sure how interested I am in my own project at the moment. It is an interesting topic but researching it for 3 years seems too overwhelming. I am rather sure that I don't want to have an academic job in the future and would very much prefer an industry job instead. What I'm thinking now is to give myself a few more months and see how this goes. Sorry about all the rant!

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