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Battling depression and navigating through research

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Battling depression and navigating through research

When I first enrolled as a university student 8 years ago, my early life was confused because I was already dealing with severe depression and anxiety. In fact, I was undergoing psychotherapy on account of a traumatic childhood experience. I failed some of my courses but decided to continue my studies irrespective of the struggles.

Finally, at the end of four years, I completed my Master’s degree successfully. As a result of this and about three years of intensive therapy, I found that my self-confidence had improved a little. So I decided to study further and enrolled for an M.Phil course after my Master’s degree.

This is when I immersed myself in research and worked under different supervisors and professors who had a lot of experience in their fields. Their passion and dedication inspired me and I decided to take up a PhD after my M.Phil.

Following the completion of my M.Phil coursework, I began intensive research where I worked alongside senior researchers who were busy working on their own research problems. During the first six months of my research, I didn’t understand exactly what I had to do because I was unable to adapt to the research community’s mindset.

To help me resolve this dilemma, my supervisor made me work on an unsolved problem. After two months of hard work, I managed to solve this problem and got the required results. This was the turning point! This episode made me realize that I had it in me, that I too could solve complex research problems.

Eventually, the problem and my solution to it took the form of my M.Phil synopsis and after two years of continuous hard work and research I have completed my M.Phil and submitted my thesis. So although I took slightly longer to reach my goals, I did reach them and am now a more confident researcher.

I am currently working on two research papers, one of which I have already finished writing and one which is in progress. I am waiting for the day when I can see my name on these papers as the author.

During these initial research years, I have completed different online courses with Editage Insights and Elsevier. These courses have been related to academic writing and publishing and I am thankful to both for providing such useful resources for authors. Well, that was a little story of my research life☺.

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Published on: Sep 21, 2018

Visiting Lecturer, Department of Mathematics, University of Karachi, Pakistan
See more from Sikander Shirazi


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