PhDs are often lonely, isolated places. 

There’s the more obvious isolation – the hours spent in the library or lab working in silence, or the time spent at your desk writing your thesis. 

But there’s the more subtle isolation – the feeling of disconnect you have from non-PhD friends and families who, however hard they try, will never be able to understand what you’re going through. 

In either case, you can be left to deal with your challenges and emotions alone. The danger here is that you may start to think you’re the only person feeling the way you do. 

You’re not. I can promise you that.

No matter how confused you feel, how lost you are, or in how much of a muddle you seem, you’re not the only person to feel that way. In fact, feeling this way isn’t just to be expected at various points along the PhD journey, but it’s often the norm. 

The trouble is though, because of the solitude (or maybe because of pride or professional culture), you may feel unable to share your struggles with others. If you did, you’d start to realise how common they are. 

It won’t make your struggle disappear, but take comfort in the knowledge that what you’re feeling is likely entirely normal and being felt by countless other PhD students of all ages and abilities.

Feeling in a muddle is no reflection on your skills or capabilities, it’s just part of the process. 

Good luck!

Hello, Doctor…

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