How to Stay Motivated as a PhD Student (ft Susanna Harris @ PhD Balance) | Summary and Q&A

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April 19, 2021
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How to Stay Motivated as a PhD Student (ft Susanna Harris @ PhD Balance)

TL;DR

PhD students can maintain motivation by taking time to understand their feelings, finding external opportunities that excite them, and not pressuring themselves to be excited about everything all the time.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What are some practical steps for PhD students to regain motivation?

PhD students can take time to reflect on their feelings and understand where their lack of motivation is coming from. This self-reflection can help identify potential solutions and strategies to regain motivation. Seeking external opportunities and finding excitement in other aspects of life can also help.

Q: How can PhD students differentiate between general lack of motivation and signs of depression?

It is important to assess whether the lack of motivation is specific to the PhD work or if it extends to other aspects of life. Feeling unmotivated in all areas, experiencing anhedonia (loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyed activities), or persistent feelings of sadness may indicate depression. Consulting a mental health professional can provide further guidance.

Q: How can PhD students leverage their areas of interest to regain motivation?

Identifying specific areas of work or interactions that lack motivation can help PhD students tailor their approach. They can incorporate aspects they enjoy, such as giving presentations or engaging in science communication, to motivate themselves in other areas of their work.

Q: Is it normal to not always be excited about your PhD work?

Yes, it is normal to not feel excitement about the PhD journey all the time. PhD work can be challenging, and it is okay to view it as a job at times. Building in pieces that you find exciting and fulfilling can help maintain motivation and balance throughout the process.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • PhD students can try to invest time in themselves to understand the root cause of their lack of motivation and find potential solutions.

  • It is important to differentiate between general lack of excitement and potential signs of depression, and to seek appropriate support if needed.

  • Identifying specific areas of work or interactions that lack motivation can help tailor strategies to mitigate the issue and find alternative sources of motivation.

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