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Please overlap your interest with your study domain

Hi everyone- I am really excited with where “ExperiencePhD” is going. I am seeing that it will evolve everyday and include with useful information, blogs,links and articles every day and every week.

This site is unique in a way that it brings the information/knowledge in the books into the digital world and it makes it searchable, easily reachable and bring a hollistic view into PhD education blending it with real experience. Well I have to accept that is crawling yet 🙂 but no worries.

I have come accross many difficulties getting through my own PhD education and that happened to create this website so that others (you) can benefit from it. As the site evolves, experience of other PhD students, candidates and graduates will find their place right here.

I know this blog already happened to be long enough to get bored, but I have to tell you this: please please please choose your study domain such that it overlaps with your study interests and choose an advisor who will enjoy also reviewing your work, contribute and guide as well. There three legs of the bar stool is so important not to let PhD education a torture. Let us continue on this in the follwoing blog.

Stay awake 🙂

 

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how do I decide on a research topic?

Hi Everyone!


Welcome back to my website and blog serious about PhD adventure and education. it is more then education so I call it an “adventure”. The fact that it last at least 4-5 years is simply emough to be an adventure I suppose.


🙂


Realizing the timeline for the posts


As you know I am not really writing in an order from the application to the graduation but in my linked in Account I have received comments on maybe I should consider a timeline for my blogs. As a result of these inputs, I have decided to go my post in a time order from application to classes, dissertation topic and advisor selection, to dissertation, then defense and graduaiton. I hope it will be at least in a pace that if I can reach out to a new PhD student, my post will be timely and more meaningful should they subscribe and follow me. Go to this page and subscribe in the box on the top right corner (FOLLOW BY EMAIL ) easily for new post and other information.



This will be my last arbitary post


However, one of my closest friend approached me in LinkedIn and reminded me how we suffered those days when we were trying to find and decide a dissertation topic. A big part of it is of course finding an advisor to be happy with it too. I will accept my friend`s request and write about choosing a research topic and advisor to work in this blog. 


When you have a research idea and work towards it


Okay first of all, the ideal for a dissertation is to have something in mind at the very begining of PhD education and sign up the classes to develop skills and accumulate knowledge towards this goal. Little projects assigned during the classes try to find some relatie subject that, maybe even partially, fits in your area, you are working and advantage every opportunity to learnd and explore your research topic. Mean while, keep an eye on faculty professors and lecturers if there is anyone whose research focus also coincides with what you have in mind, again maybe partially. Talk to them about what you have in mind and get their words if they would agree working with you on this research or if they have anyone they can refer. Get their insights, their experience, knowledge and expertise may necessitate you to alter your research topic towards their interests, which is a “win-win” situation for both sides.

A piece of advice on research topic

“my advice is that do not stick to your research topic too much, let it flow and change as you go along to fit the faculy or department needs. When you look at the whole picture, you will understand that having one research topic in your mind, is not enough to finish PhD. plus it might not be the best and brightest idea”


When you really do not have anything on your mind and you are reay for any subject that a faculty will agree


If you really don’t have any reseach topic yet, plus you have completed your class workload you need to be quick and really quick. 2 years for a dissertation write-up after the classes might seem to be long enough, in reality it can prove really short. Only reaching the decision of the topic can take a few months.


You are vulnerable now! you need to really surrender to a faculty to accept you as an advisor and into their research realm as a candidate. I must say it should be so rare for a PhD student to be in such a situation because there are many checks and balances you need check and fulfill before getting that point. 


Knock the doors of faculty that you think you can work and you think the research topic is somehow you can enjoy and have knowledge in. Proove that you have the necessary knowledge, discipline and passion to join their reseach team. Explain how you can bring some additional value in there. Later, just hope and wait that they will accept your contributions. If not, do the same steps for another faculty and you must succeed. 


If you are having big trouble, then go to department director  (if you had not done this before) and consult them about what you should do.


As aforementioned, I will continue in a timeline and on starting form my next post. Hope it turns out more useful.


If you enjoy AllthingsPhd please reach others and mention about the website, subscribe and also comment under the post. Share your thoughts, opinions and experience!


Good luck!

let us talk about “study plan”

Welcome back o AllthingsPhD once more and happy Mother`s Day for for the female PhD pursuers 🙂

Now you have earned to have the privilege to pursue a PhD degree, from now it all depends on you really if you are going to cut through it. I mean it because there is no one else interested in what you doing except if you are not doing a TA (teaching assistance), if you are not a part of a bigger team/project even during you are taking classes or your dissertation/research is already a funded one.

So when there is no boss, there is no hard limits and due dates, you are really the Boss, but whose Boss, unfortunately you are only your Boss 🙂 sound good right? however believe me this is the hardest part. when you are the Boss you will find yourself usually favoring “your side”

I want to reiterate it that if you know what you want to do with your degree (explained in a recent post) you are very very lucky, at least you will have a good picture/plan of how your next 4-5 years will pass. One of the most important things in the beginning is “preparing a study plan” but a real one. Sometimes during application interviews, trying to decide on an advisor they make you prepare a study plan but this is more to know you better and understand your intention, planning capability and so on. These times are gone fast, now you are a PhD Student and you need to prepare a study plan that you will study accordingly and stick to to achieve the aim and time lines and also requirements. What you need to is to ask a few questions to yourself  (do not expect these from advisor faculty or others you must ask and answer very yourself)

  1. How many years do I have to finish my education? When do I plan graduation?
  2. What are the credit requirements?
  3. What is the core (must have) classes?
  4. What are my skills that I want to build on, and hope to write a dissertation about?
  5. I do not have any background on this.Which skills do I have to acquire?
  6. (Very very roughly) What general area does my thesis be?
  7. What are the offered classes? Which semestres are the open?
  8. How can I place them throughout my years on campus?
  9. How can I overlap my enthusiasm with my advisors field?
When you find answers to these questions, and when you put them down on a piece of paper you are ready to go for advisor for approval or comments. Before that I strongly recommand you to a PhD Candidate (an experienced 3 -4 years colleague) to proof read the plan on the paper, find some obvious mistakes, inconsistancies etc and knwo on your advisor door after editing those findings.
Going over the plan with the advisor is very important, you need to get the advises and reflect tehm to the plan.
Now you are ready to “execute the plan”
 
GOOD LUCK ! you will need it👍
 
*****I must remind you that sometimes we make the plans for the sake of plans…and they rest somewhere on the hard discs of computers which is totally wrong. I advise you to update change the plan as necessary do not be afraid of that. As your ultimate goals, the harbours where this PhD education is bringing you change it is very normal that the study plan will change as well. If you dont do this attentively, there is a potential that you will find yourself not requiring all credits, or forgetting to take one Core Class on time and many more.
Bottom Line 
  1. Establish your ultimate goal
  2. Make the plan to get you that goal
  3. Update as necessary


Now you are about to finish your PhD education, which most of the time was  a pain in the neck (sometimes fun an honoring as well I have to accept), you have scheduled Dissertation Defense but have you thought about yourself yet about and SO WHAT?

I am hoping you have not forgotten why you started the PhD many years ago : )) It is normal bussiness to get lost during this long education but we still need to always bear in my mind “which harbor we are heading?which direction are our compass is locked up onto.

What are you going to do with that PhD? Do you have a job already that you are going back? (This is more for part time students) Is anybody interested in your continuing research? (maybe your department will hire you as a adjoint or post-doc) Maybe they already funded your dissertation. You do not have anything so you will seek job opportunities.

These are the questions that you must already have the answers and/or preparations before dissertation defense point.

If you never thought these kinds of questions and never thought about the possible answers and prepared yourself accordingly, I am afraid to say that you might be just another ibdividual with PhD degree. Sometimes meaning yes you know somethings more than other people and you are an expert but nobody else (companies, business, defense) really cares…so I am hoping you are already prepared for this in the begining of your education.

I have to remind you that PhD is not a free education but it is NOT also a compulsory education. Each and every one of us in this process is “volunteered” another words “you wanted to be here”. So we must already be aware of what we want out of this education. and how are we going to benefit from it.

Well, as per my experience, if you never thought of these questions and you never yet know what to do with your diploma, or you just feel like being a faculty would be cool J then check your CV because you will need a Academia/Faculty ‘targeted CV” and this must be many quality pages. Proving that you deserve it and you are a best fit for it. By the way, please go to your department and try to find professors who will be willing to endorse you. Academia is a job domain where there are incredible competition.

Please comment and contribute and THEN ALL  IS WELL

(will ring a bell if you watched the movie ‘3 idiots’ )

Thanks many for following!

First blog post- my oldest memory

I wanted the first blog to belong to me, i am hoping I am not selfish to ask for this.

I have started PhdExperience to make a legacy what I have been learning through my PhD in US. I wish I could have told you I am done with it but not yet 🙂 You are actually farthest to completion when you think you are actually closest. Learning all these by hard way, I wanted to leave a legacy to people who want to go through earning a PhD. And I mean it it is really an EARNING after all these long sleepless nights and long sleepless days.

My oldest memory I would like to tell is about my interview during my interview before acceptance. The chairman professor asked me Are you ready to read and write long hours (locking the door from inside) while resisting your kids request for playing frisby outside in a beautiful sunny August evening? and I replied YES. Believe me I have experienced many many similar days so far. And I am sorry but it looks like there is more to come.

I want phdexperience to be a helpful guide (as it evolves and inherits more information) for you guys who will benefit from it. If I can save you one day to spare for your kids and wife, and if I can see you playing/BBQing outside I will think that this website already worth making it!