Talk to people

By James Hayton,
September 14, 2017
"... don’t forget that the point of doing a PhD is to prove that you can do research autonomously, so you should not be relying on too much guidance anyway"

The point of a PhD is not to prove anything; it's to develop the skills required to do academic research.

One of those skills is the ability to discuss your work with other academics. It's not about being told what to do, but exchanging ideas and getting inspiration from human interaction.

Another essential skill is being able to recognise your own weaknesses and seek help from those with more experience. The best researchers, no matter how experienced, talk to other researchers with different skills.

Why shouldn't you seek guidance? Why shouldn't you learn from others? If it's to prove that you don't have to, that you're so good you can do everything alone, that's a ridiculous burden to carry.

Academia should be about the sharing of knowledge. And universities should be places where new researchers can benefit from those with greater expertise. It's this kind of collaborative environment that creates researchers who are capable of doing research with greater autonomy.

There is neither value nor valor in doing it all alone. If you want to be the best researcher you can be, talk to people.

See also:
Do you have a healthy academic environment?
Who you work with is just as important as what you do

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