My friend Olga Jasnovidova has recently finished her PhD studies in Brno in Czech republic. In her acknowledgement speech she concluded the 7 years-long work and gave a message for young ones. Here it is.
Through my PhD studies I have learned that science has two dimensions: one scientific, and one human… and that, of the two, the human dimension is the more difficult to grasp.
I understood that, in order to achieve your goals, you must not only care about your work or yourself. You have got to care about the people around you: senior and junior students, technicians, facility managers, senior colleagues, your supervisors. As you step into PhD studies, you should not expect them to support and motivate you, but rather you yourself should start by supporting and motivating them.
I have also learned that one of the most effective ways to grow and develop is to ask for feedback, then learn to accept it and moreover learn to give constructive feedback yourself. This process can be painful for our egos, but it is the only way to grow.
Most importantly, I have learned that there are always several ways to achieve the same goal. There is no one correct way to reach one’s target. Therefore, you should always stay open to new ways to achieve your goals.
Based on my experience, I would like to say to younger students that they should not fear anything new or unfamiliar. Please don’t create any mental barriers for yourselves. Academic research seems like a very conventional and strict field after Bachelor’s or Master’s studies or peer review, but it is not so. Science is one of the most creative fields to work in, providing endless opportunities to grow and discover. Just learn the rules and then use them to create. You can do something truly unique for the first time in human history, something that will lay a path for many to follow. Believe in your own abilities. Every single day you have an opportunity to do something amazing — don’t waste it.
P.S. Olga, congratulations!
P.P.S. Meanwhile Samual Coles defended his PhD thesis in Oxford. Grande Sam! Sam, congratulations!