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Essential Capabilities of a PhD Student

Category : Research
Date : August 4, 2016

There are successful PhD students, and then there are unsuccessful PhD students. There are certainly some essential capabilities that a successful PhD student possesses against an unsuccessful one.  Without them, I believe it is a little harder to achieve success. What are those core competencies that distinguish the successful from the unsuccessful?

  1. Communication skill: There is no person who doesn’t get ideas. But those who are effective communicators are the ones who are able to organise their ideas effectively, and express them in a systematic manner. If the communication skill is at the end of a disadvantage, then then the ideas remain locked up in the head and they remain inaccessible to other people. It is the essential pre requisite for a successful PhD student.
  2. The ability to concentrate: The call of a PhD is to concentrate on a single idea for a long time to come. Boredom and monotony is bound to creep up. In addition, mid-way there are many other opportunities that creep up, and it is easy to get diverted and lose focus. The ability to focus is an essential capability of PhD candidate.
  3. Self-belief and Assurance: The path is herculean with varied obstacles. The work that one is assigned to complete is unique, and has to get clearance through a harsh judgemental process. Others may doubt and loose belief in the researcher. But self-confidence and belief in one’s abilities goes a long way is deciding how quickly would one finish the work.
  4. Inquisitiveness and Modesty: The most competent and successful researchers are those who always have queries, and questions to ask. The questions could be from anyone as these researchers seek clarity in all they see and observe and they have the understanding of their level of knowledge and what they still need to know. Never have a belief that you know everything, because then you would limit your knowledge to only as much you know as the curiosity to explore further is not there. Modesty and humility would keep the hunger to know more alive within you.

So being able to sail through a PhD is not about being intellectually challenging. It is rather about perseverance and self-belief , that you can handle the challenges that creep up in the journey and sail through them with your chin up.

Remember PhD is an outcome of your conviction and not your intellect.


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