More often than not, comparing your progress to that of other PhD students you may know is futile at best and destructive at worst.
But in spite of that, it’s often impossible not to compare yourself. Perhaps it’s part of what makes us human to make sure we don’t fall behind or lose the pack.
This can present a paradox. We know that comparing one PhD to another is problematic, but yet we sometimes can’t help ourselves.
If this is a paradox you’re struggling with, it helps to consider who you are comparing yourself too. Are you comparing like for like? Are you comparing your progress to that of someone doing a similar study to yours, or using a similar research design or methodology? Are you comparing yourself to someone with similar levels of experience and expertise?
Or are you comparing apples and pears? Are you comparing your inductive approach with someone’s deductive approach and wondering why they’re ‘ahead’ of you?
If you really can’t help yourself, choose your point of comparison carefully. Otherwise, you may get a false sense of (in)security about the progress you are making.
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