If you’re lucky, you have people around you who are interested in your PhD and want to guide you along your PhD journey.
Supervisors in particular are there (or should be there, at least) to make sure you do the right things at the right time, and that you hit the right milestones in the right way.
But you need to remember that it’s your project, not theirs.
There will be times when you disagree with your supervisors, times when you think that their advice isn’t appropriate, or just plain wrong, and times when you know better. You’ll find that these instances become more frequent as you get nearer to submission. That’s natural; as time goes on your become more and more of an expert until one day you may overtake your supervisor when it comes to your knowledge and expertise in your niche.
So what does this mean?
Put simply, it means that you don’t have to do what people tell you to do.
This isn’t to say that you can ignore good advice, but it does mean that, on those occasions that you think their advice to be inappropriate, you can respectfully disagree. Be prepared to justify your choice, and to do so with reference to the literature or data, but it’s important that the PhD goes in the direction you’re comfortable with.
You would do well to listen to and act on their advice most of the time, but leave open the choice to go against it from time to time, but only when you’re sure that you’re right and they’re wrong.
And that’s for one simple reason: when you get to your viva and your examiners ask why you took a particular direction or made a particular design decision, the one thing you can’t say is ‘my supervisors told me to do that’.
Good luck and have a great week.
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