It’s fine to get things wrong.
It’s fine to make mistakes.
It’s fine to drop the ball.
Most PhD students I interact with are, to lesser or greater extents, perfectionists. With that comes an innate fear of making mistakes, and a sense of panic when they actually do.
PhDs necessarily involve trial and error, and they’re the product of countless mistakes, dead-ends and failures. When you start your PhD you’re a relative novice, working as an apprentice to learn the skills required to become a researcher. For that reason, you’ll get things wrong. All the time.
But it’s through those mistakes that you learn – if you knew it all already, you would already have a PhD.
Part of accepting imperfection is realising that other people don’t care about your mistakes as much as you do. Everyone’s human, and everyone knows that we all make mistakes. Often we can pile pressure on ourselves and talk ourselves into the false belief that everyone around us is just waiting for the time we mess up so that they can ridicule us. That’s just not the case.
So take yourself off of a pedestal, accept that you’re going to mess things up all the time, and tell yourself that the only person who really cares when you do mess up is you.

Hello, Doctor…

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