It certainly does not seem like nine months have passed since I was excitedly tweeting about my first official day as a PhD student.
I was so excited to start that day that my body woke itself up at 4:30am, and I ended up going out for a spontaneous 7km run in the dark to wear myself out.
Now I’m lucky if I can manage to make time for a 7km run.
It recently occurred to me, though, that even though my life has been taken over by this PhD, I am so grateful to be where I am right now. For the first time in my life, I am living in a town where I can look up and see stars on a nightly basis. I am surrounded by friends and colleagues who are supportive, smart, and fun. I am excited about my research and have a knack for getting other people excited about it too.
This is not to say that the year has not been full of struggles. There have been a few personal issues. My brain sometimes hurts from thinking too much. I need to start saying no to things. This is why, as my first year as a PhD student rapidly approaches its end, I’ve decided to take some time to reflect on what’s gone well, what’s gone not-so-well, and what I’ve learned about being an academic and being myself.
For ease of reading, this reflection will take a ‘Things You Should Know About the First Year of Your PhD’ format. Y’all know how much I love a good reflection post. Learn from me, grasshoppers. Don’t give into the man(tis). Give (crick)it your all.
Actually, now that we’re on an insect roll, I may as well accompany my advice with some insect-related GIFs. Ant you so glad that your reading this right now?
Here y’all are. Things you should know going into the first year of your PhD: