Do you compare the progress you’re making in your PhD to that of others? ⁣

Of course you do – you’re human. ⁣

We all do it, even though we know we probably shouldn’t. ⁣

It’s easy in your PhD to look at others and compare your own expertise, study and progress. A particular challenge occurs when those in your cohort reach major milestones before you or, worse still, submit before you. ⁣

We can look at others who are progressing faster than us and wonder ‘what is wrong with me’? ⁣

Well, let me say this: there’s nothing wrong with you.⁣

Everyone’s PhD is different. ⁣

And every PhD student is different. ⁣

We each bring different skills, background and experience to the PhD. And we’re all facing our own unique demons and own unique challenges. ⁣

We’re all brilliantly different. ⁣

Plus, projects differ enormously. Some are more straightforward, and some get lucky by avoiding any major hiccups or disruptions, others have to respond to challenges they could never have predicted.⁣

If you look at why some submit later than others, it’s almost always because of things outside of the student’s control. It may be problems with fieldwork, a death in the family, illness, and so on. ⁣

In short: we all work differently and that’s why you can’t compare your PhD to others. ⁣

But if you still find yourself worrying, remind yourself of this: If you’re the last of your cohort to submit, are you really going to remember or care in one, five, ten or fifty years? ⁣

No, of course you aren’t. ⁣

That’s telling, isn’t it? Being seemingly ’slow’ can seem like a major problem, but it’s a problem your internal critic has created as a way to punish you. It’s not an objective assessment of reality, or of your skills. Remind yourself of that and tell that inner critic to shut up next time it tries to convince you you’re failing. Because you’re not. You’re doing great. ⁣

Good luck and have a great weekend. 


Hello, Doctor…

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