In your PhD, you’re going to encounter lots of problems. Things will always go wrong and you’ll always come up against unexpected outcomes. 

If you’re anything like me, you may let problems become overwhelming. What typically happens is this: I come across a problem that needs fixing. Gradually I work myself up more and more until what started as a little problem with small consequences has morphed into the end of the world. Then, I drop everything I am doing, go into panic mode and try and fix it. When I have to delegate the problem to someone else, or when the outcome is out of my hands, I find myself panicking even more and getting impatient. 

Recognise this? 

Every time it happens, I remind myself that you have to put a limit on your worry and you have to know when you’re straying from useful problem-solving mode into destructive panic mode.

Next time you come across a problem in your PhD do this: try and think about it rationally. It may be inconvenient, sure, but it isn’t likely to be the end of the world (despite what your brain is telling you). Or, it may depend on other people to fix it, but have faith in their ability.

Importantly, keep things in perspective and don’t panic!

Good luck!


Hello, Doctor…

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