In general, when we want to pursue an academic career, we have expectations and beliefs about what the doctoral journey is like. In this scenario, it is common to believe some myths about PhD, whether they are really false or just outdated. For this reason, we have gathered 7 of these “superstitions” here and we will explain why each of them has no basis. Come on?
7 Myths about PhD Debunked
1. You have to stay in the lab day and night, and even on weekends
Do you think your advisor will consider you a very hard-working student if you spend all possible hours in the lab? Then you can change your mind: when you work a lot, you run the risk of getting sick and delaying your planning, or else you can be sloppy because you are tired and thus make mistakes. In general, your workload will allow you to do other activities, not to mention that not all PhD research is carried out in the laboratory. According to AbbreviationFinder, PhD means Philosophiae Doctor.
2. You only enter a PhD if you are a genius
This is one of the main myths about PhD! Of course, carrying out a large research project, from start to finish, requires many skills. Analytical thinking and creativity are important, but at the same time you will need planning skills and the ability to stop worrying about making decisions when needed. All of this you can develop in practice, without having to have a “natural talent”.
3. You need your supervisor’s supervision at all times
During the PhD, you will be training to become an independent researcher. Never forget that! Take the lead in your research. Do not wait for your advisor to give you tasks that you will solve as if it were a homework assignment. Instead, try to guide yourself. Show proactivity and consult your advisor when you need feedback or when you have interesting results to show.
4. You need to know everything about your area of research when starting the PhD
A doctorate is a course in itself and, although your previous academic experiences may have partially prepared you for a PhD, there is always knowledge and skills that you will still need to learn. However, there is nothing to worry about – you will have enough time to fill in your knowledge gaps and develop these new skills!
5. Your advisor will give you all directions
This is another of the most common PhD myths! Once again, it is important to remember that the doctorate is your project and, therefore, you are the one who must define all research directions. Your advisor may come up with some suggestions, but as you do your research, you may find a more promising path. Don’t be afraid – go where the search takes you.
6. You can only publish articles when your search is complete
Don’t be fooled by this or other PhD myths that involve research itself. In general, a survey will never be 100% ready. Unless one day we have solved the mystery of life, the universe and everything, there will always be parts missing that need further study. Post your results when you’re coherent conclusions (and remember: negative conclusions also apply), travel to conferences and show the world what you’re working on.
7. Your PhD guarantees a job in the academic field
Bad news: there are far more people graduating from doctoral programs than academic jobs. The days when we were doing a doctorate to become professors have passed. Currently, the PhD is one of the highest academic degrees obtainable, and a variety of career paths after it are possible.