During my ongoing literature review I often discover interesting facts about things I’ve never thought about. Sometimes I can connect these facts with my own observations: The result is mostly a completely new idea why things are as they are. Maybe these ideas are new to you, too. Therefore I’ll share my new science based knowledge with you!
This week: This time, I think about the constant requirement to be patient while pursuing a Ph.D.
Achieving a Ph.D. not only opens up the possibility to work in different positions in academia, it also means to complete the highest educational degree. In this way, the pursuit of a Ph.D not necessarily has to be simple or doable for everyone. It requires a lot of dedication and hard work.
One has to research the theoretical background and develop new theories that base on the literature. Subsequently, those theories have to be tested and to be evaluated in experiments. The results obtained during the experiments then need to be discussed and to be published in a journal or presented at a conference. This approach takes a lot of energy and often requires some detours.
However, the road to Ph.D also features many events one cannot control nor influence as they depend on others. A paper has to be accepted by reviewers before it can be published. During this review process, the paper cannot really be touched as one has to wait for the final decision of the review. This, unfortunately, can take several months of time. If one got the right reviewers, the paper is accepted and needs only a few changes. If the reviewers are not agreeing with the paper’s contribution, the paper gets rejected. In this way, the several month-long waiting period can also be a loss of time as one has to go through the waiting period again when resubmitting the paper to a different conference.
While this is the normal process of publishing scientific results, other elements that take patience are mostly related to receiving feedback that is important for moving on to a next step. Here, a Ph.D student is mostly dependent on the time of their advisors who are involved in other tasks and thus have to prioritize. While this is fully understandable, a meeting that would only take 5 minutes often results in a delay of several months. As a result, a Ph.D candidate frequently experiences a high degree of frustration.
In those moments, it is helpful to talk to other Ph.D while attending scientific events. It seems that everyone experiences the same problems during the career and thus can fully relate to this frustration. Unfortunately, as long as one does not decide to move to a next step with the risk to make a huge mistake, there is no way around the waiting game.
Patience is needed …