5 Mistakes (so far) in my PhD | Summary and Q&A

July 11, 2018
Dr Lucy Kissick - The PhDiaries
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5 Mistakes (so far) in my PhD


Lucy shares her top 5 PhD failures, emphasizing the importance of learning from mistakes in academia.

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Key Insights

  • ❓ Overcoming failures in academia is crucial for personal and professional development.
  • 🥺 Learning from mistakes leads to improved efficiency and effectiveness in research endeavors.
  • 🤗 Prioritizing the main task at hand in a PhD program is essential for success.
  • 🤳 Missing opportunities can serve as valuable lessons in self-advocacy and assertiveness.
  • 🤗 Open discussions about failures in academia help normalize setbacks and encourage growth.
  • 🤩 Building resilience and perseverance are key qualities for navigating challenges in research.
  • ❓ Acknowledging failures as part of the academic journey is essential for growth and development.

Questions & Answers

Q: What was the most impactful mistake Lucy made during her PhD?

One of the most impactful mistakes Lucy made was contaminating her experiments with oxygen due to a careless oversight, leading to the ruin of her work and valuable lessons learned.

Q: How did Lucy overcome the regrets of not pursuing a NASA internship?

Despite regretting not pursuing a NASA internship, Lucy reflects on the missed opportunity as a valuable lesson in standing up for oneself and not letting fear of disruption hold back potential growth.

Q: Why does Lucy stress the importance of focusing solely on the PhD task at hand?

Lucy emphasizes the need to prioritize the PhD task over side projects to maintain focus, avoid distractions, and make significant progress in academic research.

Q: How does Lucy's experience with failures contribute to her growth as a researcher?

Through sharing her failures, Lucy showcases the importance of resilience, learning from mistakes, and perseverance in overcoming challenges, ultimately contributing to her growth as a researcher.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Lucy discusses her five biggest failures during her PhD, including contamination of experiments and missing opportunities.

  • Emphasizes the significance of overcoming setbacks and learning from failures in academia.

  • Encourages open conversation about failures in academia to normalize the experience.

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