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I officially started my PhD journey a year ago

I officially started my PhD journey a year ago

One year ago today, I officially started my PhD journey. I remember feeling pretty lost and a little overwhelmed but also had this ball of excitement in the pit of my stomach. Looking back at the post from that day, I’d say I’m not doing badly (though I’m still working on those referencing habits!)

Looking back, it’s nice to reflect on how far I’ve come. Day 1: I was astounded that I had my introductory meeting with my supervisor, sorted some admin work and inductions and then was left to my own devices. I remember sitting down and thinking “now what?”

Fast forward one year, to now, and I walk in on any given day and have/make a plan which is mine. Yes, I sometimes have days where I wonder what to do (but in reality, those are the days I know what I need to do and don’t want to do it!)

I’m now in a position where I have a plan, a direction… along with a very detailed Gantt chart. I feel totally settled, it’s all just routine now. In the beginning, I couldn’t imagine this life becoming routine – it was so different from anything else I had experienced!

That’s not to say I’m not still learning - I’m sure at every stage, with every transition, I will stumble a little, but if there’s one thing I’m grateful for that PhD life has taught me, is to roll with it. You are going to stumble and hit walls (only metaphorically, hopefully!) but that’s part of the process. Working through obstacles puts you in a better position than before and you’ll have learned a hell of a lot during that, undoubtedly, infuriating period.

A year in and I feel like I’m finally transitioning from feeling panicked the majority of the time, and in control with a plan only a tiny bit of the time, to just the opposite. More and more, I feel in control with a plan and like I really am the person who knows most about my PhD. People have been telling me for months (particularly before presentations/discussions about my work) not to worry, because I know the most about my project, but I never felt that before.

I think it just takes time and then one day it clicks!


Shruti Turner (@ShrutiTurner) is a PhD Researcher at Imperial College London. This story was published on January 15, 2019, on Shruti’s blog, Shruti’s PhD (available here), and has been republished here with her permission.

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Your Research. Your Life. Your Story.

A magnetic community of researchers bound by their stories