The Sassy Scientist – Hailing in a New Era

The Sassy Scientist – Hailing in a New Era

The term has just begun, you’ve settled into your new place and survived the tsunami of welcome events and inductions. But what now? There’s no guidebook to a PhD, which is why Lionel has asked us:

What can I expect from the first few months of my PhD?

Dear Lionel,

Tears. You can expect so many tears. Or at least that was my experience anyway… And that’s not because doing a PhD can’t be great, but uprooting your whole life to a new city, perhaps leaving a stable job and swapping a salary for a stipend, having to make new friends – it’s all draining and emotional and before you know it, there’s tears.

Dry your eyes though, because there are so many other (happier) things you can expect from your first few months if you remember one thing simple rule. You’re not meant to be productive or successful when you’re just starting out.

Drop all expectations of academic fame (if you’re lucky enough that the imposter syndrome hasn’t already knocked that out of you), and focus on getting to know your department, your project, your supervisor and your research group. You have plenty of time to do research, but you’ll never do it well if you don’t find your footing first.

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to PhD’s, and there’s no single experience so I’m afraid I can’t be much more specific than that, but I hope this provides you with a little guidance on what you’ve signed yourself up for.

Yours truly

The Sassy Scientist

PS: Make sure your office has a good supply of kleenex!

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I am currently employed at a first tier research institute where I am continuously working with the greatest minds to further our understanding of the solid Earth system. Whether it is mantle or lithosphere structure and dynamics, solid Earth rheology parameters, earthquake processes, integrating observations with model predictions or inversions: you have read a paper of mine. Even if you are working on a topic I haven’t mentioned here, I still know everything about it. Do you have any problems in your research career? I have already experienced them. Do you struggle with your work-life balance? Been there, done that. Nowadays, I have only one hobby: helping you out by answering the most poignant questions in geodynamics, research and life. I am waiting for you right here. Get inspired.

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