Writing your dissertation will be one of the most challenging and anticipated milestones of your scientific career. Although you may consider yourself a relative newcomer, you’ve reached a level at which you’re able to contribute something meaningful to the scientific community. That’s no small achievement.
Starting your PhD usually occurs while you are already working in the field. You have several years of research and lab experience behind you, so you’re comfortable enough in your identity as a scientist to structure your research and get the ball rolling with experimentation. However, putting all of that information together can be a major challenge, especially if you’re trying to juggle your personal life with classes and research. Below are success tips science PhD students can use to make it through their program and publish a dissertation they’re proud of.
Get Your Finances in Order First
Before your first classes even begin, make sure that you have taken a solid look at your budget. You should consider your current income’s impact on your schooling as well as your future student loan payments. PhD students have likely already been paying their student loans for a year or more, but borrowing additional funds to study can seriously increase what you owe.
To help you stay balanced and protect your finances, research various funding options. Private student loans can help you customize your academic financing while giving you greater options for repayment in the future. The main goal is to ensure you are not only comfortable with the amount you’re investing now but the amount you’ll have to pay out of pocket in the future. Sorting out your student loans is one way to alleviate a lot of stress that graduate students face. You want your headspace to be as clear as possible so you can fully commit yourself to your research.
Begin Writing Ahead of Time
You should start drafting your thesis as soon as you’ve been accepted into a program. You may not want to, given that you have to present your idea to a committee first, but this doesn’t mean you can’t get started now. You can start formatting the page for your thesis before you’re even enrolled in a program. This can help improve your brain power by giving you ample time to create this significant piece of work rather than waiting and rushing.
The physical structure can take a while to nail down, so looking up a scientific dissertation template should be on top of your to-do list. Get fluent in your preferred writing software, whether it’s Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Make sure that you have the skeleton in place so you can gradually incorporate your research over time. This will make it far easier to manage once you actually do start writing.
Backup Your Data
Make sure your dissertation has multiple versions stored on a USB flash drive and digital platform. In the event of a computer breakdown or accidental file deletion, you’ll be able to easily pick up where you left off. Remember to always update all files simultaneously to prevent gaps in research. The last thing you want is to back up a dissertation that is several weeks behind your previous version.