My Super-Amazing People!
Hope everyone is doing great.
I'm entering the last few months of my PhD program and I was reflecting on what helped me over the last three years.
As you may already know, I am in a three-year PhD program. The average number of years for a PhD is about 4-5 years. This means that a 3-year program is nothing short of INTENSIVE.
These are 'Seven Tips' that helped and still help me in my program.
1) FIND YOUR 'RIGHT REASON'
There are so many reasons to decide to go into any graduate program. The problem is when you don't have any reason or you just do it because everyone else was doing it. Intensive graduate programs don't give you room to be indecisive. If you haven't already, ask yourself "Why do I want a graduate degree?" When you find that reason, hold it tight. Your right reason will comfort you when things get crazy and will excite you when they are good. For me, I remind myself of how I'm contributing to reducing the incidence of HIV infection, and also of the doors that will open for me, with a PhD.
2) HAVE AN END GOAL
This is different from the first point. While the right reason is "Why" you opted for a graduate degree, your end goal is "What" you want to do with the degree. You need to have a light you look forward to at the end of the tunnel. This works with your right reason to encourage and motivate you throughout your program.
3) HAVE A SUPPORT SYSTEM
You cannot successfully complete a graduate program on your own! I repeat: you cannot SUCCESSFULLY complete a graduate program on your own. You will need people in your life to support you. In having a support system, you either identify one that already exist, or you create one for yourself. You may already have family and friends that love you and are prepared to do anything to help. If that's your situation, identify the people who are willing and available, ask and receive help from them. If for any reason, you don't have people in your circle that can support you as you would like, create your support system. You can do this by, making new friends in school, church, or any social organization that you are a part of. When you make these friends, let them know what is going on with you and how they can help you. Help could be a cooked meal, babysitting, laundry, a shoulder to cry on, someone to encourage you, and the list is endless. Regardless of how help comes or what kind of help is offered, take it and be grateful. An ungrateful heart will destroy any support system.
4) HAVE A 'REST DAY'
'Rest Day' is one day or half of a day that you set aside to just REST. The Bible Says God rested on the seventh day, you would have to be really arrogant to believe that you don't need rest for yourself. No matter how busy your program is, over-working yourself will certainly not help. For me, Sunday is my rest day. Having a day to rest, helps you recover from the stress of other days and prepares you for the upcoming days. This will also help you stay healthier both physically and emotionally.
5) BE FOCUSED
When you are in a short graduate program, you have to focus on getting your degree. This might not be the best time to fill your schedule with any and everything. You want to dedicate the majority of your time to your program. It is possible to pursue other interests in graduate school; however, make sure your program is priority and nothing takes its place.
6) TAKE EACH DAY AS IT COMES
I found out that taking each day as a new day and giving it your best, increases your chances of success. Don't live on past successes and definitely don't live on past failures. Each day, put up a fight; work hard and give your best, regardless of what happened in the previous day.
7) BE POSITIVE
I can't emphasize this enough. This is one of the best attitudes to have towards life in general. In intensive graduate programs, having a positive attitude gives you the push to keep going. Having a positive attitude will help you overcome tough days, and enjoy the good ones.
I talk about this in details in the video below
As always, let me know what you think in the comment-section.
Until we chat soon,
Have a Winning-Weekend