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Tricks to Fail a PhD Programme

Date : July 20, 2015

I am sure no one has ever discussed this with you ever. You may have read a lot of tips and ideas for succeeding in a PhD programme. Let us look at it the other way. What actually is a fool proof method or path towards failing in a PhD programme? Sounds bizarre, read it on.

  1. Focus on grades or coursework:The key task in the first two years is to find an advisor, do a lot of literature review and experiment with minor exploratory projects. A lot of time on  grades and course work is a distraction and leads to dilution of focus
  2. Seek Perfection:  Getting glued to perfection in academia can haven dire consequences. It actually hits the hardest to the brightest. One should work within limitation and accept that it is difficult to attain perfectionism. In an attempt to first become perfect, students tend to not begin the work itself. This sometimes leads to the work never getting started.  Research scholars should take the PhD process as an iterative process whereby the improvisation is going to  be a gradual process and the target be to get “good enough” output rather than the best. Else you would surely sink you ship in this journey.
  3. Procrastination of work: It is true that chronic perfectionists are also procrastinators. Somehow a PhD Course attracts procrastination from all scholars. I wonder why is there a strong link between procrastination and PhD but as a scholar the only way out you have is to fight it out else you give in.
  4. Handle PhD like you handled school: Here is another big blunder. PhD is one of its kind of experience and has no link whatsoever with school or the way you managed school.  There is contemplative labour demanded of you in PhD, for days , weeks or even months at times. It calls for those unsaid vows of dedication and obedience without which you are sure on the way of failing in the programme.
  5. Neglect the committee you have to report to: The committee is crucial and has to sign off the PhD of any scholar. It is very important for the scholars to be in touch with the committee members. Sometimes the scholars are negligent of the advice given by the committee or tend to forget it because of less interaction. However, do remember that  the committee members do not ever “forget” the advice they give to their scholars.

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