Wetenschap - 2 augustus 2016

Blog: 3 lessons for PhD candidates

tekst:
Nadya Karimasari
1

Her 1.5 year old toddler taught blogger Nadya Karimasari how to do a PhD properly.

Trust me when I say my PhD process is not going as well as expected.
To my surprise, my 1.5 year old son really helps to understand how I should do a PhD. Most of the time, I feel like things just fall into place. Thanks to my son, who gives a day-to-day example of the best attitude on learning and from whom I try to learn.

He has no fear of failure. He never thinks he’s silly, ridiculous or not making any sense. He has a steadfast trust in himself.

First, he’s never afraid to make mistakes. He has no fear of failure. He never thinks he’s silly, ridiculous or not making any sense. He has a steadfast trust in himself. It’s okay not to know things, that’s why he is here to learn. Never mind what other people might think, he simply enjoys learning new things. No matter the result, for him the joy of the learning process in itself is enough of a reward.

Second, repetition is fun. Every little thing is exciting for him. He likes to do things again and again until he’s good at it, and better. And, always with a big smile on his face. I must admit that I might not be the most efficient PhD candidate because I often have to go back to a document many times over. But I always think about my son who never gets bored doing peek-a-boo game for the umpteenth time.

A lot of PhDs read academic paper not only to understand what is written, but to imitate the method

Third, he’s a very active observer, and he imitates even before understanding the meaning of what he’s imitating. Not long after, he gets the context and see the pattern, thus he can do it at the right moment. He starts to understand the meaning of what he’s doing. He’s learning very quickly by imitation. Similarly, a lot of PhDs read academic paper not only to understand what is written, but to imitate the method of how the author builds up an argument and brings evidence to come to a conclusion.

So, next time you don’t understand an academic paper, try to imitate it and you will get it eventually. Don’t forget to have fun repeting things and never be afraid to make mistakes.

Nadya is a PhD candidate at the chair group Sociology of
Development and Change

Re:acties 1

  • JdB

    So true! I have a 3 and 1 year old, and I hope I will be able to stimulate my kids to maintain this attitude. Such a shame that while growing up we've lost it, while it can help in so many ways, not just in our academic career.

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