1. Laura Haddock said:

    Nice article – thanks for your thoughts.

    1. Liesbeth Aerts said:

      Hi Laura,

      thanks for reading!
      It is nice to see that the piece resonates with so many people.
      As someone put it on Twitter: The PhD life can be challenging. Luckily, we live and learn!

      Best of luck!

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  2. veethika pandey said:

    Great article- my thoughts exactly!

    1. Liesbeth Aerts said:

      Thanks, Veethika!
      Doing a PhD can be difficult and so many of us are facing the same struggles. Perhaps we should make a better effort at looking out for each other?

  3. Elisa Pucu de Araujo said:

    You have just summarized my feelings regarding my PhD. Thank you for opening my eyes ;)

    1. Liesbeth Aerts said:

      You are welcome. Good luck for your future!

  4. Sarah HELAL said:

    thank you for sharing that, I am struggling with that, and reading that others felt the same as I do is really helping me to get trought it by more accepting the hard situations. Thank you

    1. Liesbeth Aerts said:

      Hi Sarah, we’ve all been there… It might not feel like it to you at this point, but things will get better. Try not to worry too much and just take things day by day. Good luck with your PhD!

  5. James Chelliah said:

    Brilliant article! It will be very useful for my students.

    1. Liesbeth Aerts said:

      That’s great, James! Thanks!

  6. Muhammad Zeshan said:

    Very Nice Article.. Feeling same after two years of PhD..

    1. Liesbeth Aerts said:

      If you already realised this after two years, than you are already ahead of me on the learning curve ;-)
      Looks like you are going to be just fine! Good luck with your PhD, Muhammad!

  7. Saed Abbasi said:

    “…I try to be more patient with myself when solving problems…”

    It is so interesting to see your thoughts written by someone else :)

    Good luck in your new research

    1. Liesbeth Aerts said:

      Thanks, Saed! Good luck to you as well!

  8. Robert Brewer said:

    Ph.D. is overrated and generally a big waste of time.
    And considerably narrows your career choices.

    1. Liesbeth Aerts said:

      I agree that not everyone starts a PhD for all the right reasons (myself included) and it is definitely not the only (or best) road to a successful career. It may narrow your career choices in some ways, but it also opens up a lot of doors in different professional worlds.
      Whether it is overrated or a waste of time is really a subjective matter. I wrote this piece because I may not have had a realistic sense of the value of a PhD, but I still don’t think it was a waste of my time. People that feel that way should probably seriously consider doing something else, and that’s just fine.
      Let’s not generalise either of the extremes.

  9. Erika Duan said:

    I really enjoyed your post and it definitely resonates. The qualities that we had when we started (curiosity, creativity, resilience and dedication) are the most important ones we can carry with us, and yet they can get so easily lost because other metrics of success make us think we need more of ‘special X’ qualities.

  10. Nima Soltani said:

    Dear Liesbeth Aerts
    I found your article very useful
    Can I have your permission to translate it on my own blog?

  11. Charlotte Gistelinck said:

    Hi Liesbeth,

    this was really a great read, thanks for sharing! It’s sad that not more PhD students are aware of this before/at the beginning of their PhD. A lot of them are probably struggeling with some unrealistic expectations of how smooth of a journey this PhD thing should be, and then get discouraged. Reading articles like this would help a lot of us out there :-)

    The best of luck in your future research and keep writing stuff like this!