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10 Struggles of Ph.D. Scholars

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Source: www.searchenginejournal.com

Ph.D., an intellectual journey, is a roller-coaster ride. With strong time management skills and higher chances of success, this journey also embraces stress and demotivation. Below, we look at a few biggest common problems that Ph.D. students encounter. 

1. There is always something to read – Kitna padhein yaar. 

This is something that many Ph.D. scholars must have gone through. Beginning with your thesis is very challenging. And one should examine the research work of the last 10 or 15 years just to formulate the objectives. It should not be plagiarized. It should not be something that someone has already done. It should be novel. And the list goes on and on. 

2. Overthinking career- Mera kuch hoga bhi

Ph.D. candidates often face this fear. With looming deadlines and a huge amount of reading, this journey is compounded by many career issues. Many companies and business leaders complain about the short supply of high-level skills candidates, the future of the Ph.D.(s) is undoubtedly bright and blooming. But it takes too much time!

3. Did you meet ma’am/sir? Supervisor se meeting hui?

Have been planning for a discussion that was scheduled weeks before and it just got canceled. Haha! Supervisors’ time is very valuable. Several times they are unavailable and you truly understand their commitments. But still, when will we get to meet them? (Always a mystery!)

4. Catching up to third year blues – Kuch nahi kiya yaar 3 saal ho gaye

This constant thought of ‘have not done anything’ horrifies you. right? Scholars also take breaks but a few take longer breaks (like me). The breaks’ intensity and length sometimes bring an unwelcome dip in confidence. Generally, this happens after you are done with your ‘research proposal’ and, popularly known as ‘3rd Year Blues’. 

5. Did you attend some international conference? Did you get the funding? Koi conference kari?

Yeah! The funding is really a big issue for doctoral scholars. Some institutions are way better than others when it comes to supporting Ph.D.students. However, funding for international conferences is something that you can’t ignore. All you can do is to whine about this in front of your friends. 😛 

6. Are you done with the Ph.D.? – Ph.D. ho gayi kya? Kitna time lagega?

To those who keep asking this daunting question:

Dude!, we are doing a Ph.D. It can be a journey of 3 years or 4 years or 5 years. It’s not totally in our hands. So stop asking this question and focus on improving your lives. You will get to know when it’s done.

7. I think I am not  motivated – Prerana nahi mil rahi padne ki yaar

It’s difficult for anyone to maintain motivation throughout the whole journey. Like many of you don’t feel like working every single day, it’s true with doctoral scholars too. They also want some days or weeks off. 

PS: Feeling bored, dissatisfied, fed up is their common mood! 

8. I want to do so many things – Sirf Ph.D. thode hi naa karni hai

So many dreams, and so little time to do it! To do more and more in every sphere of life is probably the mantra of the scholars. It takes years & years to realize what Ph.D. scholars want! But, when they are sure of it, there is no coming back. At the end of the day, they are intellectuals who developed many skills during the journey. Be it writing or managing time. 

9. Let’s have a coffee/tea – Chai pe zindagi aur Ph.D. ki charcha

While your working friends may work in teams in a fancy office and crave for smoke or chai breaks, THEY WANT CHAI BREAKS TOO. Many scholars feel burdened as they have to work alone. They feel an urge of going on chai-breaks like after every 1 or 2 hours and let out everything related to their life-journey. Sometimes, breaks are way longer than study-time. 😛

And, the most significant one! 

10. Broke? Scholarship khatam ho gayi – kab ayegi?

Most Ph.D. students are dependent on scholarships to support themselves while learning. They all wait for the scholarship for months and when it finally gets credited, it disappears in the twinkling of an eye. You have strengthened your ‘expenditure game’ over the years. 

Did we miss any other struggle? Share those uncanny struggles with us. And, let’s take a break from reading and writing for a while.

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An avid researcher who aims to uncover all major political and business events through a wide lens. From understanding "breaking news" to reading impactful research papers, she always endeavors to contribute something new with her writing. She has presented her work at world-class platforms such as CCI (Competition Commission of India), IIT-D's Industry Day (organized by Indian Institute of Delhi), etc. Her serious demeanor changes in front of the Indian cuisine and she wishes to taste every possible cuisine in her life while she travels all exquisite corners of the world.