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Things about a PhD nobody told you about | Laura Valadez-Martinez | TEDxLoughboroughU

15219 ratings | 681807 views
This talk guides postgraduate students and those thinking of doing a PhD through the vicissitudes of the doctoral process. In a friendly and down-to-earth way, the speaker illustrates issues that many doctoral students face. The talk covers seven challenges that may emerge during a PhD: I’m stuck!, There’s more!, I have no motivation!, I forgot what I did!, I am not sure this is relevant!, I feel lonely! and I don’t know what is next! For each one of these challenges, the speaker provides recommendations on how to tackle them, which draw both on empirical studies and anecdotal evidence. The suggestions go from having “thinking time” to let ideas mature to keeping a research diary, from sticking to a few research questions to saving multiple copies of the thesis manuscript files. The talk recognises that doing a PhD could be more difficult than one may initially expect but that there are ways to overcome the obstacles and enjoy the learning process. Dr. Laura Valadez-Martinez is a Research Associate at the Center for Research in Social Policy of Loughborough University, specialising in income adequacy, poverty measurement, and childhood poverty and well-being. Born and raised in Mexico, she became aware of social inequalities from a young age, and volunteered in various non-governmental organisations. Volunteering activities helped Laura realise that social development requires coherent combined action between the government, civil society, and the private sector. This led her to pursue higher education in the areas of public administration and social policy, under the premise that a sound understanding of social problems is crucial to promote well-being. Consequently, Laura studied the Masters in Public Policy at Monterrey Tech in Mexico. She also holds an MSc in Public Policy in Latin America and the PhD in Social Policy from Oxford University. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx
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Text Comments (626)
Piled High and Deep
James Pestell (20 hours ago)
I want to get a PhD in ancient Roman history but I fear I'm far too late. It takes eight years, they say and I'm almost 30 :(
April Harris (4 hours ago)
Why do you think at 30yrs it's too late?? Are you terminally ill? Even if you are, so what? Do what's in your heart and don't worry about time!!!
Twisted Life (1 day ago)
There is no need to do PhD unless you are doing it to invent or discover something new and beneficial to humanity. Most people do it and doesn’t make a difference but just go to be lecturers professors. For me that’s just to get a job. What’s a point unless you are producing something new which will benefit the world.
Avinash Lomash (3 days ago)
I felt all the moments. Very informative
Herdiantri Sufriyana (3 days ago)
Apparently, I choose the right advisor. I cannot see the difficulty that many PhD students talk about.
William Evans (4 days ago)
I gained my PhD here in the UK some 27 years ago (I was 26 years old) and the experience still remains clear in my mind. I moved straight from my BSc in Biochemistry into the start of my PhD project. The lab work took three years, full time, and I spent almost a year writing my thesis, so dedication is a must. Remain focused on the main questions but also be flexible, as unexpected results are often they key to progress. Be prepared for long hours and try to offer moral support to others (who will , hopefully, reciprocate), and ensure regular, open and honest contact with your supervisor.
D R K Music Bhojpuri (5 days ago)
Nice ji
fary chaudary (6 days ago)
well said👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
umamaheswar pgdds (7 days ago)
Sergey Erlih (7 days ago)
to be or not to be? ヽ(ヅ)ノヽ(ヅ)ノヽ(ヅ)ノ
adeoflagos Ade (9 days ago)
What about the Comprehensive Exam that one need to pass to become a PhD candidate? Seem it vary by region or country. Unfortunately thats when I became bald and more forgetful. I seem to have recovered from the forgetfulness but not the baldness.
Tchoffo Syreré (9 days ago)
It’s been of great help to me, love the presentation. Thanks
yayra amounu (9 days ago)
I'm empowered to continue with my Phd as soon as I'm done wid my masters
Trump Terrorrism (10 days ago)
nozecone (10 days ago)
... um ... why not just "Things about a PhD nobody told you" (as title for the video)?
Siddhartha Mukherjee (11 days ago)
Very Informative .... Thank You
Rupendra Chakma (11 days ago)
It's really interesting... Well I still at initial stage of my Ph. D. So very helpful and lucky to get this video early.
Shariful Islam (11 days ago)
Phd- permanently head damage.
Brian Theowidavitya (11 days ago)
you can be Smart and Great but please still remember being a human
AskAScientist (11 days ago)
Hey lady how about getting some exercise so you won’t get out of breath while talking
Shrestha Sharma (11 days ago)
If anybody can chip in on this, please do. Is it sane to choose a topic that moves you greatly emotionally and mentally? Also, as a person who has some mental health issues, is it the right decision?
Shrestha Sharma (11 days ago)
@Mitch Earleywine thanks!
Mitch Earleywine (11 days ago)
Shrestha Sharma it’s VERY stressful in all areas of life (financial, interpersonal, health, etc.). It’s also no guarantee of a decent job. If you don’t want it like your next breath, don’t do it. If you can find a job you would enjoy that doesn’t require the degree, do that job.
Ishita Ganguly (11 days ago)
Absolutely true. Same experience. I can relate very much with my PhD journey
Raj Baldev (11 days ago)
chanreila shangh (12 days ago)
very true im stuck from the biginning
TheMichael408 (13 days ago)
My teacher said he got PTSD (Self-diagnosed) from getting his PhD.
RummagInn (13 days ago)
I cried watching this! I resonate with her! It's some relief knowing that your experience isn't singular! Gives the strength to keep going! Thank you. 💜
purnapi polm (13 days ago)
I qualified phd entrance .. I have interview on this month ... please any one tell me interview process in hcu university in hyd
Zara Hussain (13 days ago)
As someone whose doing a PhD, I would definitely advice that your research topic is a passionate topic! When you begin to feel a little lost, lonely, forgetful of why you're researching..that passion will keep you going. Also, keep your work balanced and realistic. Remember this is a long journey so enjoy it. Have that *me* time and keep your mental health in check🌹 Keep me in your prayers guys☺
Brandon Walker (15 days ago)
"No one told me that I would have to think." Oh okay this is TedX
Awil Noor Egal (18 days ago)
Happy to say that I am about to defend my PhD thesis in Management next week!
ASMR Ebonyjaws (3 days ago)
Hot Ice (11 days ago)
GOOD stuff!!
INTPerspective (11 days ago)
Yayyy congratulations. I'm just now writing my proposal for a PhD in Counseling Psych
foxesandsuch (28 days ago)
I've worked in academia for a while, and I've noticed that graduate students working on their PhDs see writing and defending their dissertation as the end goal. A lot is said about how to survive this process, until finally you graduate with your PhD (like this talk). However, much less is said about what these new PhDs are going to do with their degrees. Usually students start thinking about this a year or two before graduating, but that is often too late. A PhD isn't some kind of prize to earn or a test to overcome. It's a process by which you gain the skills and knowledge that will allow you to pursue whatever your actual goal in life is. So, if you're in graduate school, you should be able to answer these questions in the affirmative: 1. Is getting this degree going to help me get Job X? 2. Are the skills I'm acquiring as part of my PhD going to be useful for Job X? If you answer "No" or "Not Sure", you should really think hard about what you actually want and what you're doing.
Matt Ball (28 days ago)
KNoW -ledge
adiksadiatabs (29 days ago)
she needs to lose weight. she's catching her breath
Md.Mijanur Rahman (1 month ago)
Good talk....
Natraj Tarnalli (1 month ago)
This is awesome
All that studying to make yourself totally unemployable.
nandini dash (1 month ago)
Our job is to find solution in the face of challenges. while you are standing on the stage you must have faced some challenges or you are "corrupt queen' who is brought on diaspora without having any talent , yet for show off you must have gone through training of public speaking, stage fear etc. so, need not discourage others what they want to do in their life
You're That (1 month ago)
Permanent Head damage.. PhD
Ninki Nanko Fangbondi (1 month ago)
Permanent Head Damage (PhD)
The American (1 month ago)
Tu ingles se oye muy mal!!!
Haresh Oza (1 month ago)
motivating speech to begin your doctoral work
Raf Rof (1 month ago)
What really startles me about a PhD is the paucity of money and the abysmal work-life balance.. I am thinking about going on a PhD odyssey but I don't want it to be a saga at the end.. Let's see; Thanks for the video, it's rather encouraging
Morshada Mosharof (1 month ago)
ruchi ruchi (1 month ago)
First of all i wanna thank laura, you really have explained it very genuinely. i just have completed my masters in technology (2k19),now i wanna do phd ( computer science and engineering ). And for that only i came here on youtube searching videos so that i'll come to know what exactly it is !! truly speaking i'm little bit scared coz phd is not a common degree and only those who have completed it and gone through whole procedure can elaborate how it can be perused in a better way. i have read each and every comment here on this video coz i really wanna know about it more in depth. i'm determined that i have to do phd but i also know making someone calling uh Dr. won't be easy. Right now i have dozens of questions in my head and i really don't want to enter in phd program with those unanswered questions. i really need to talk to someone who can explain me every inches of the phd program , i mean what to choose how to do it when to start and from where to start, each and everything !! If someone really can help me in this , and kind enough to spare some time to sort me out , i'll be really thankful. will be waiting for reply .
Edgar Meraz (1 month ago)
Outstanding !
Mercedes Musgrove (2 months ago)
Well said young man, bravo! From Portland, Maine
M Sultan (2 months ago)
What's better, pursuing a PhD or starting a company ? Which is more rewarding and difficult?
Abraham Guzman (2 months ago)
Wow! You sound frustrated... it’s making me think twice about taking the journey.
Asfandiar The Great (2 months ago)
If you put the "efforts" of doing PhD into solving a real world problem ...... you would ended up to be a multi-million or multi-billionaire .... So getting a PhD is just not worth it ...... waste of time...
Dithi Hasnat (2 months ago)
Adam Bernard (2 months ago)
Glad I went to business school instead!
Ricky Cruz (2 months ago)
She is having a hard time breathing....
Believe in Yourself (2 months ago)
People who haven't done a PhD criticize this lady's voice. Her trembling voice reminds me one of the hardest points in my PhD journey. I was working 18-20 hr days but there was tiny progress in what I did. Being on scholarship and as an international student, I was overwhelmed by pressure feeling like my heart was going to the throat. The pressure was brutal and as time passed it didn't get any better. It was hard. I had a roommate who developed psychosomatic asthma in the PhD process and was unable to breathe sometimes. *Think carefully when you intend to do a PhD, it's a hard journey*
Melissa Clough (1 month ago)
I think there may have also been a bit of a shaking voice because she was doing a Ted Talk! But also, yes, very arduous journey!
GloriousWings Research (2 months ago)
Some people's PhD are watery. Finishing on time and well means being smart and not too smart.
Rayan Altowayan (2 months ago)
I would prefer being called daddy
Khaleda Begum (2 months ago)
1. I am stuck! 2:23 2. There is more 3:38 3. I have no motivation 5:10 4. I forgot what I did! 8:01 5. Not sure this is relevant! 11:17 6. I feel lonely! 13:08 7. What is the right way? 15:24
KALAISAI MEDIA (3 days ago)
Thank you..
Ghanshyam Malviya (16 days ago)
Very nice explanation 👌
Suprabha Thapaliya (2 months ago)
This is going to be very helpful for my master's thesis.
who cares (2 months ago)
Same here my masters thesis is on opportunistic routing protocols and for past 9 months i was moving from literature to literature and finally things started connecting and made sense
Jasper Etale (3 months ago)
PHD=pull heaven down. Learning much about little.
Jude Arulraj (3 months ago)
PHD is "Permanent head damage" Only Jesus was a PHD untill this day.
haneen Fayez (3 months ago)
thank you very much xoxo
Bishalbikram Sawad (3 months ago)
This is the very important information and you will be the great supervisor with best ethics of education. thank you very much madam
kiran patil (3 months ago)
can I phd in health and fitness ....but I'm studying master of commerce
PKG PKG (3 months ago)
SAMUKELISIWE T. MAMBA (3 months ago)
This is me right now.......just 5minutes in the video n already relating to all what she says
Dave Partner (3 months ago)
If you out that mental work in business, you could be more successful.
Abatu Nigatu (3 months ago)
Very interesting. The lonliness challenge is quiet hard if one study in China without Chinese, I am lost guys.
dog (4 months ago)
a hard program is hard??? wwWWHHHAAATTT???????? NeW DISCovErY?????
Andem Janikiramulu (4 months ago)
I wanna ask u sir what is phd why r u put five years yo that course what is the theory in phd what is the use of phd wii u plese amswer my question i would like ask another question how many phd colleges in india
neun (4 months ago)
What if you have animosity with your lab mates and your supervisor is left in the middle of your bench work
Mark Phillips (4 months ago)
Learn Public Speaking
that is great 👋👋👋
sayeed1982 rahman (4 months ago)
well said. Dr.
Gustavo Gonzalez (5 months ago)
Amazing video. Thank you
Legang Li (5 months ago)
Legang Li (5 months ago)
dbreardon (5 months ago)
Received my PhD in 1995. My tips: You must have a passion for what you are doing. If you don't enjoy learning more and more about your subject matter on your own time outside of class, then a PhD is not for you. If you are going into a PhD program for anything other than your passion - money, fame, so you can be called a doctor or professor, you are likely to fail or be very miserable. You have to enjoy work over life outside of work. That doesn't mean you can't have a good life outside of work but you must enjoy and have a passion for the subject and for work. You have to be autonomous with respect to work time, study time, writing time, knowing the syllabus or when an exam is scheduled. If you miss questions on an exam you need to be autonomous enough to spend the time to look up the answer before running to the professor and asking them for the answer and explanation. Don't expect extra credit or a do-over.....this is not remedial undergrad. Before you chose a mentor/supervisor, make sure you talk to others and learn about the supervisor. The last thing you want is a mentor who is not willing to assist, discuss and guide you through the process.....that is their role and they should want to assist you and help you grow as a scientist. Lastly, a PhD is for scholars....it is meant to be difficult. You are pushing the boundaries of knowledge as well as pushing yourself (sometimes to the limit) as you pursue the degree. As an aside, if you are a bench researcher/grad student (conducts laboratory research), don't expect immediate results. Sometimes a single experiment can take a week or two just to set up and complete. And then expect failures where your experiment didn't work - I'm not talking about getting different results than anticipated, I'm talking about the experiment not working. That was the most frustrating part for me...spending two weeks to set up and conduct an experiment only to have it fail. I felt like I just wasted 2 weeks of my time! But if you have the passion you will want to know why it failed, what mistake did you make, where in the process did the error occur. You have to think of it as a learning experience rather than just a failure. Of course there are the times where an experiment will fail over and over and then all of a sudden start working but you have no idea why...that was really frustrating. Experimentation can also be monotonous as you will likely have to repeat the same experiment multiple times to ensure your results are statistically correct. But if you have passion, you know that your are getting another piece of the puzzle to add to your story/article/dissertation/new knowledge.
Pradeesh Bm (5 months ago)
Great and very useful information about phd .. thanks..
Marshal C (5 months ago)
One's life is full of different kinds of PhDs, for some you survive, but for some you lose. Enjoy every minute of doing an academic PhD, even if you are going through something hard, calm down and carry on, never ever sacrifice your physical or mental health for a degree, because unsustainable self-development is not a development at all.
Ricardo Murillo (5 months ago)
Is a PhD useful or just an ego trip that often goes depressing?
makok tong atuot (5 months ago)
Why chimpanzee....in ? Mood? PhD is as simple as taking in air of God. I just finished my high school(secondary school) last two years but I challenged education when I was twelve years. My millions of questions became one question and no man may answer this question, only my foolishness ( equation) can do me a favour and a world as my wife if I must choose to marriage.
Pratima Kamble (5 months ago)
.All phd scholar traveling through out the same phases.. Nice sharing👌
Pratima Kamble (5 months ago)
.All phd scholar traveling through out the same phases..
tahseen sultana (5 months ago)
muhammad annas (5 months ago)
it is just makes me scary. i planed to continue my study and take Ph.D, it is a compulsory for a lecturer in the university where i working now.
NADIRA SULTANA (5 months ago)
There is no doubt this is a wonderful speech.
soheila y (5 months ago)
thank you sooooo much
Norman Braslow (5 months ago)
All Ph.D.s are not equal. Most are not worth the paper they are written on. Anything on sociology, psychology, popular areas a gender studies, religion, anthropology, and such are "soft" have no real credibility even from supposedly major universities. The hard core ares, history, physics, math, biology, etc., are for real. Also, the university is critical. Only the state universities, not the lower level state colleges, and the top tier private schools, have any gravitas. Those of us with genuine Ph.D. do not give the others any respect, privately.
Norman Braslow (4 months ago)
Sorry, Yolan, I mean no offense, but in the rarified realm of academia, the soft Ph.Ds are not, repeat, not considered as the equivalent of the solid Ph.Ds. That's life. Your claiming that your Ph.D. is of consequence because it is directly applicable to some business, industry of government programs demonstrates that you really have no idea as to the real purpose of he Ph.D. It is in the philosophy of the area, and is a contribution to abstract academic knowledge in the field, and is not supposed to be "practical". Moreover, the soft Ph.Ds do not even require academic proficiency in foreign languages. They substitute things like statistics that are not even close to being the equivalent. My Ph.D. required academic reading fluency in Japanese, as 80% of my original sources were in Japanese, with some in German and French. And, unless the committee chair is a nationally recognized authority, so sorry, the degree cannot and will not be respected.
Kousar Ahmed (5 months ago)
Ph.D is the name of patience ...patience and patience
ANURADHA MAURYA (6 months ago)
Thanks mam.. I also do that way of naming to the files with every important changes.. And thanks its really helpful for me that you told
Zam Tube (6 months ago)
Well, my journey of Ph.D was mind-gobbling as well as exciting as I enjoyed every bit of it. Learning and discovering new paths in the field motivated me a lot. I didn't care of the outcome, and I kept enjoying the journey and finished me Ph.D in just three years with flying colours. Ph.D in Tesol is a daunting task. Then CELTA and DELTA were so minuscule and effortless when I ventured on to conquer them.
Quaint Deliveries (6 months ago)
I just saw half the video and read a few comments. I'm already feeling jaded. PhD is a battle of a lifetime.
Devjyoti Das (6 months ago)
what if you feel you're under a wrong supervisor. if he doesnt support
susan machooka (6 months ago)
Why I’m I stressed already
Santu Dey (6 months ago)
nice....itds reall happend
Liang Peng (6 months ago)
She is nervous, but she is fantastically right!
B Sridhar (6 months ago)
I am a semi-retired professor of management, still active in management consulting and executive training and development. I finished my PhD in 1987 from a Big 10 school in the US. Having been through the process personally, and vicariously (my wife also joined me in the PhD program and completed) I have a few additional tips to share:. 1. Have a clear vision and reason why you want to do PhD. It is not enough to just read brochures, visit campuses. You need to have a definite reason. Talk to those who have been through the process. Ask them to list any reason they would think it was a bad idea on their part to have pursued PhD. It is a commitment of a lifetime. I left a senior executive job to become an academic. I have never regretted it. I am not ready to retire. I have seen too many students from developing nations enter PhD programs to postpone deportation and as a means of getting permanent residency. I have even seen students change their disciplines in search of visa. Visa is not a good enough reason. You don't waste rest of your life wedded to a field you do not love. 2. Be a bit pragmatic, and practical. Unless you love unemployment or you have other means of economic support avoid entering PhD programs in disciplines where job prospects are very poor. In America the job market and salaries for similar ranks vary a lot by discipline. Many times by factors of 2 or 3. This is unlike European universities the salaries do not vary much across disciplines. Once I was stuck during my dissertation research. I happened to attend a support group on my campus entitled ABD (All but dissertation) Support Group hoping to benefit. The participants were all very highly qualified, committed individuals. Soon, I found out that most of them were there not because they were incompetent. They were afraid of completion, and the unemployment that would follow the completion. Fortunately, in my discipline it was very common to be hired even as an ABD. I left the group within weeks as my need was not being met. 3. Be selective about the PhD program and the3 university you want to enter. Some programs are more reputed and better-structured than others. For example, in many good American universities, you get a broad and in-depth field of the discipline by taking a number of masters and PhD seminars seminars during the first 2-3 years. That study and exposure prepares you to frame the right type of questions for your dissertation. Some programs clearly lack structure and guidance and rigor. They are relatively easy to enter, and the premature exit rate and incompletion rates are also pretty high. Avoid them. 4. Be careful in choosing your dissertation advisor and the members of your dissertation committee. It is a rational, meritocratic, and a political process. Notwithstanding all the adulation that the star professors receive, some of them are also the least desirable, despicable individuals. Some do not have even basic interpersonal savvy and ethics. Select people who are professional, knowledgable, kind and enthused about your topic. I still encourage anyone to consider this exciting journey. Decide wisely, carefully. You will be in for a treat.
Holy Bana (11 hours ago)
John Smith what are you talking about? The gentleman shared his experience and you sound ungrateful and just mad at the world.
Priyanka B T (4 days ago)
Sure sir, just I planned to join PhD
vikas ghatge (9 days ago)
Thanks a lot Sir for your valuable tips
John Smith (23 days ago)
It gets tiring reading these preachy sermons about how a person survived the 'hardship' and was lucky to be successful. You could have given all that advice without telling everyone how clever and rich you became at the end. There's no modesty left in many people. I'm doing a PhD as well (which is as irrelevant to this point as 80% of your boasts were) and I wouldn't talk so condescendingly to a 200IQ individual who dropped out of primary school. Good for you for 'winning' everything. Next time, try sticking to just giving advice rather than slipping in boasts about how successful you've been as well. It's not appreciated and just makes you look cheap. P.S. You forgot to add how surprised you were when your dog took an interest in astrophysics and published a more advanced version of Stephen Hawking's 'primitive' theories in a leading scientific journal.
rashmi kashyap (6 months ago)
I want to do PhD in english language...plz give me some suggestions
Pawan Dixit (6 months ago)
I got enroll in Ph.D. very recently. This was really enlighting. Please make a video on How t read Ebooks, I am struggling wit the same.
Kay James (3 months ago)
For me, only working on a masters degree program, hopefully a PhD program next year. I found it easy to have multiple screens, one ebook or two and a main screen for writing. But, it takes some time to get used to, for me as I'd rather have the physical book in front of me. Ebooks are good to use the find method easier. Goodluck on your journey.
Shayak Ibna Faruqui (7 months ago)
1:42 I heard Boobs! So, phd is not for me! :P
Dip Kumar Mallick (7 months ago)
Vinod Roy (7 months ago)
I am on my way to that destination but I do lots of things she said. And thanks again for inspiration

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