At the moment you decide to embark on your PhD journey, it marks a change in your life as a whole. Thus, you will start to notice a change in the way you process information, talk and write, as well as your worldview.
For that, you would have to possess these three mentalities to better prepare yourself mentally before starting your PhD.
1. The “Idiot” Mentality
A PhD candidate is basically an idiot, I kid you not. Who else would submit themselves to mental torture and physical pain just to get a piece of paper to validate their education status? On a serious note, putting yourself in an “idiot mode “would open your mind in receiving new knowledge, acquiring new theories and accepting other people’s opinions.
Your ego? Set it aside not just for this PhD journey, but for life. Be humble and accept the fact you have a lot more to learn and you are not the know-it-all your classmates hated for knowing all the answers.
2. The “We-Not-I” Mentality
Unless you have a robot for a supervisor or raised by a pack of wolves, then most likely you are not alone. Ask, and ye shall receive. Please fight the tendency to become a hermit and spend your life in a “cave”, and reach out. This is what separates the mediocre and the excellent. The people you meet in your life are brought to you for a reason, and will assist you if you ask for it. Remember that your supervisor is a call or an email away. Your family is the rock that will ground you and help you focus.
Some people say, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. But then again, why choose a dark tunnel in the first place when you have well-lit roads to travel? In this day and age, our tunnels have good air circulation and lights, so why subject yourself to a “dark journey”? You will be surprised with what you will learn from strangers, especially when you start collecting data through interviews and surveys. Embrace these characters with an open heart, and let the knowledge in.
3. The “Begin With End In Mind” Mentality
Of all the three mentalities, this would the mentality to start all mentalities with, meaning this is the MOST important. I am not kidding when I say that positive thinking is IMPORTANT. NEVER start your journey with a mindset that you will not be able to complete your PhD on time. If you don’t believe in yourself, how do you expect others to do so?
This mentality will drive your planning, because as you are aware, pursuing your PhD is a process. So, a proper planning is essential. Don’t be afraid to make changes to this plan along the way. Like a GPS, this mentality would guide you to your destination. Display your goals proudly in sight, so in a moment of doubt, you can look at it and be motivated again.
With these three mentalities, your PhD journey would not be a torturous one, but in fact, an enjoyable exploration to discover a different side of you. Don’t just trust me, but the millions of those who have embarked on this journey before.
Muhammad Zaki Ramli
Founder of Proofreaders United