life in HK · PhD · Uni

It’s been an uphill struggle, but I’ve got my hiking boots on.

I would love to tell you that PhD’s are easy and you just have to do your research, publish lots of papers and BAM, next thing you know you’re a distinguished professor in the top University.

Unfortunately (as I have so recently discovered) this is most definitely not the case.

I never thought it would be easy, but I also never envisioned that it would be as hard as it is. Every week seems to be the same, I get some positive results – (EUREKA!), I get some negative results – (BOO).

Perhaps I was disillusioned by my Masters as everything seemed to flow so easily, results mainly seemed to push me in the right direction. Compared to my research now, it was a breeze back then.

Now I seem like every time I get a positive result, I get two more negative ones. My seniors keep telling me that this is expected for a PhD and that I shouldn’t expect to get too many positive results, but it’s very demotivating when you’re on a roll and then a huge big boulder stops you in your tracks.

When I speak to other PhD students in other fields though, it seems we are all going through the same struggle. None of us have successfully published a paper so far in our PhD, despite putting the work in. For those of you considering a PhD, you will need to accept that you might not always succeed straightaway, no matter how hard you try. I guess if it were that easy, then we would have found the cure for all diseases, for all problems and humanity would be able to live forever.

Instead, we’re taking each day one step at a time, climbing this extremely steep hill but it’s OK, we have each other helping to push and pull us up and I know eventually we’ll reach the top.

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