Towards The One-year Milestone of My PhD Journey…

…by Clarissa / from Indonesia / studies Nursing / 1st Year of PhD

In a few weeks, I will face my first annual review in my PhD candidature. For this, I need to prepare and submit a report with 5,000-10,000 words length explaining what I have done in terms of both my PhD project and my research proposal. Since this will be my first official step towards my doctorate, I feel really nervous. However, I’ve been receiving some good advice that has helped me feel more relaxed.

  • “Don’t compare yourself with other PhD students”

At my last supervision meeting, I told my supervisors that my PhD progress was very slow. I told them about talking with other first year students starting in a later month than me and how I’d found out that some of them had completed writing their literature reviews, whereas I had not even finished mine. At that moment though, my supervisors were reassuring me that every PhD journey is unique and therefore not comparable with other students.

  • “It is a two-way (or three-way!) process so be armed with any questions you have for them or any comments/ideas that you are seeking”

This advice successfully changed my view of first year review. Now I’ve realised that it is not only an assessment, but also an opportunity to discuss my research with a person beyond my supervisors (a critical friend). I believe that I can later use the feedback to improve my research proposal before submitting ethics approval.

  • “Just relax, you’ll be fine”

Although these words are rather simple, every time I hear them I feel optimistic that I will do fine on the day of the review.

Whilst I have no clue about the outcome of my first-year review I know one thing for sure, that the experience will help me to reflect on my academic achievement. Wish me luck!

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