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Top 10 Tips to Succeed in your PhD

The Soapbox Science Blog this morning has a post titled “Top 10 Tips to Succeed in your PhD“.  I agree with most of the tips, especially the one tip to write at every opportunity.  I find that I have more opportunities to give presentations, such as group meetings, colloquia, the student seminar series, etc and relatively few opportunities to write.  As a result I have polished powerpoint slides, but find myself toiling to put words to paper when I need to write.

I was surprised that the list lacked one tip: Read everything- read papers in your field, read papers related to your field, and read papers completely unrelated to what you are doing.  While writing may be more important to practice, reading will give you a mental picture of what your writing should look like.  Reading outside your field will also give you a new set of perspectives and ways of approaching your own set of questions.  If you only read in your field you will be stuck replicating experiments others have done and published, but if you read outside your field you will be exposed to new techniques.  As  PhD student we have the time to read, and we have the freedom to learn new techniques.  Reading is the gateway to bringing new ideas into your work.

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