Life After Graduating

As a graduate student, you may wonder if the Ph.D. degree is obtained at the cost of your mental health. Actually, it really takes much effort as any other type of study, but before you make your final decision whether it’s worth applying for a Ph.D. program, we would like to highlight the question ‘how much do Ph.D. students make?’

The main advice for graduates that we can give is to apply for a Ph.D. program only when you are 100% sure that you need it for your future career and that you truly want to connect your life with scientific research. Only when you are deeply interested in this career path, your life as a Ph.D. student can be really interesting. Maybe all this may seem an obvious fact for you, but actually, many graduates, who want to apply for a Ph.D. program, do so to overcome their inferiority complex. They just want to find another reason to be proud of themselves. A Ph.D. program for them is another thing to boast about when communicating with other people. So, if your main reason why you want to hold a Ph.D. degree is to boast off in front of your friends, relatives, or colleagues, then studying won’t bring you much satisfaction. Try to regain your confidence in another way.

If you want to learn some information about the relation of Ph.D. studies with mental health problems among students, read some articles that were published by The Guardian. In one of the blog posts, it was mentioned that many post-graduates have undergone depression, apathy, insomnia, and other sleep issues, as well as even attempts of suicide when they were studying on Ph.D. programs. Many female students faced the deterioration of their women's health when they were too exhausted by their Ph.D. research. From the perspective of psychology, the presence of these problems in many students does not mean that each Ph.D. student will surely face them. Actually, any problems connected with health and general well-being are actually related to the way a person is reacting to a specific situation. Imagine a situation that every test, research project, or presentation that arouses stress and fear in you. In this case, you are bound to have stress-based health problems. On the contrary, if you perceive studying as merely studying and not the most important part of your life, then you won’t have any serious stress-related problems. Ph.D. students (and for students in general) need to control the time they spend studying because if you are overloading yourself with work, you will surely face emotional burnout in the end. Besides, it is equally important to control eating habits. So, now, having read all this, you know how to start a Ph.D. study without damage to your mental health.

Tips for New Ph.D. Students

  1. Maintain a work-life balance and do not let studying overwhelm you. If you are new to Ph.D. studying, ask for some advice from older students, who can actually provide you with a so-called Ph.D. survival guide.
  2. Make sure you do not postpone your home assignments and other projects, as you will then have numerous tasks to submit within a short period of time. Burning the midnight oil regularly will do you no good.
  3. Among other things Ph.D. students need to know is that sometimes struggling while studying is an inescapable thing. It is OK to be sometimes under stress due to overworking. The thing is to perceive such a situation as a lesson for better time management and management of inner resources. Make sure you can find time to unwind and simply go out and breathe in some fresh air.
  4. Do not be afraid to seek emotional support from your friends, teachers, or even a psychotherapist. It is Ok to have some moments when you feel totally weak and unable to do anything. Sometimes, due to emotional burnout or overworking, one might feel as if he/ she can no longer proceed with any further studies. At such moments, it is really important not to stay on your own with these problems and thoughts, but to seek some support from others. Never suffer in silence, as it may lead to depression really fast.