Month: November 2016

My PhD Idol 

I met him, when he was co-teaching one course on my Master studies. He is this type of a teacher, who is open for students, and a phrase – “If you have any questions, write to me, I will help you” – are not only empty words.

He had started to be my Idol, since the first day I saw him. He was somewhere in the middle of a PhD studies. I wanted to be like him. Sometimes, especially when we are not enough self-confident, we need someone who shows us, that things are possible.

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Change by Exchange – DAAD’s motto is not only a motto

It is a reality.

I have had this post in my mind since I started the blog. The title was ready in the very first day of my blogging. I just needed more time to think how to build this story…

I am always proudly using my “sponsor” bag, as I call DAAD. But it is not only about money – it is more about opportunities which are opened thanks to this money. 

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As my Sister said once – “I can’t paint so I paint even more”
I was always thinking that I cannot draw. I was always criticised in a primary school on so called “art” classes. I grew up in belief that I shouldn’t even try to draw 😛

And this words of my sister convinced me, that maybe I should try…
I took pencils and notebook with white pages on my summer holidays:

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Constructive criticism – how to take it and give it? 

Being criticised and criticise is a part and parcel of a scientist/ researcher life.

When I was starting my PhD studies I was warned by my Friend that I would be criticised very often. He said also very important thing – “remember that they criticise your work, ideas, papers, research etc., not you as a person. And treat this criticism as good advices of more experienced people, you can agree with that or not, but there is no need to treat it as a personal criticism.”

And this advice was crucial for my profession development

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Grant application rejection – why is it sometimes good to be rejected? 

This week I received information that my grant application in National Science Centre was successful 🙂 

It was my second grant application in PRELUDIUM funding scheme. The first one (two years ago) was unsuccessful. I don’t know if you know this very interesting text Academic CV of Failures – a motivational lesson by Oleg Komlik.

I was three times rejected in different grant/scholarship competitions:

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How much should we conform to an existing academic system? 

It is a question which I’ve asked, since I confronted a nowadays academic reality with my idealistic expectations…

Should I start from expectations or from the reality? 

 What was my vision of being a PhD student? Very traditional one – that I would have a supervisor who would be “My Professor” in the same time, that I would be a part of an institute/ department, that I would take a part in their research, that I could learn based on a master-apprentice model. 

I was also thinking that all people in an academia have similar idealistic approach to their work, that this work is for something, that we should do research useful for society…

And the reality…

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Importance of a mental support 

I will not pretend that PhD studies/ project/ writing is a bed of roses… Be prepared for ups and downs. Sometimes you can face “systemic difficulties”… sometimes can come lack of motivation… Sometimes you can feel don’t good enough… Sometimes you can feel discouraged working with people who don’t share your values… Sometimes you can be overwhelmed with responsibilities and tired… Sometimes you can feel lonely with your struggles…

My advice – don’t stay alone! Take care about your mental support 🙂 

Who can support us in our 3-5 years PhD journey? 

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Magic of a “to do” list

One Sunday I was Skyping with my Friend and she asked me what were my plans for the next day. I answered – “You know, I will write this paper for this joint research”. She wasn’t satisfied with the answer and she asked – “can you be more specific…?” And I couldn’t answer that question… I was a little bit ashamed, because it looks that I am so well organised. In reality sometimes I forget about important elements of the self- and tasks-management… 

One of this elements is an everyday “to do” list. Sabine was talking about that, but I didn’t implement it. 

As you could see in the post about planning, I prepared almost one year plann of my PhD writing. As I realised after the talk with my Friend – it is not enough. Because all this task, and subtask are still too general (as my answer for my Firend’s question). 

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Everyone should find his/her RSA – about academic associations 

Last week I attended the PhD students & Early Career Conference organised by the Regional Studies Association (RSA) and I had very interesting conversations with Michael Taster – he is on the second year of study on a “collaborative award PhD entitled The Production and Reproduction of Policy Relevant Spatial Knowledge and New Publication Techniques: A Case Study of Regional Studies. A project which brings together funding and collaboration from the Regional Studies Association, Taylor & Francis, the Economic and Social Research Council and the University of Sheffield in order to investigate the ways in which academics are responding to changes in scholarly communications” – It is what he said in the beginning of his presentation. By the way – it needs to be very nice feeling to have so many funding and collaboration institutions to mention 😉

During the conference dinner he asked me – “How did you find out about the RSA?” 

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