Tag Archives: phdlife

SECOND YEAR OF MY PHD PROGRAM

It’s been a year and 8 months since I started my Ph.D program. I wouldn’t say it has been easy especially with the global pandemic caused by the now infamous COVID’19. I faced a lot of difficulties in passing through my second phase. One major difficulty was my mental health. I will start this story from the beginning of when I moved into the second phase of my research.

I was supposed to be registered for my second year by May 2020, however, I was unable to register that month. This caused me to apply for an extension. In summary, I registered for my second year by June 2020. This is when my journey began. Due to my late registration, I was unable to meet up to certain deadlines which made me tighten up my buckles. The pressure of my year 2 deliverable was too much and I was battling with concentration. There were lots of distractions/hindrances at that time such as the fear of contacting the virus, worrying about family and friends, no access to the library. To be honest I felt the world was coming to an end, but it wasn’t. I managed to submit my RDDA, which normally entails an agreed plan of you and your supervisors towards the next phase of your research.

Going into my second year, I thought about several conferences, paper articles, seminars and many other research activities I would like to participate in. Sadly, all of them were canceled , however, I was able to participate in online workshops and training that were organized by the university. Examples of workshops I attended are data collection, data analysis, career planning, ethics, research planning and so on. And yes, the 3MT competition I participated in and was able to reach the finalist stage.

These issues aside, my thesis focused on my theoretical discussion and continuation of my literature review. I had a full grasp of my research, better than my first year. I was supposed to commence my data collection, however, my ethics was denied three times. I am literally still on my ethics process and I do hope to get done with it as soon as possible. My ethics was denied due to different reasons such as the vulnerability of some of the participants, travel restrictions, ambiguity of my research questions.

Honestly, my second year was a marathon but I am excited I passed through it. I am looking forwards to commencing my third year and the higher marathon that might come with it.

I am concluding this by using this opportunity to say a big thank you to all my family and friends that have always trusted and believed in me.

Cheers xx

3MT Competition

Yes, I participated in the 3MT competition. If you do not know what the 3MT competition is about, it is a 3 minutes thesis competition that started at Queensland University, Australia. The intention or aim of this competition is for Ph.D students to be able to present their thesis to a wide range of audience within a limited time.

The moment I saw the opening for the competition, I was excited to participate but I was not sure I would be able to catch up to it due to too many activities I had on my list. As always, I was determined to try. However, I was not able to attend enough training and feedbacks that were organized by the doctoral college at Coventry University but I attended 2 sessions and presented during one of the sessions. The feedback session was very important because I got relevant feedbacks and opinions from both the organizers and other participants, this helped me in restructuring my content to fit the understanding of the audience.

I was glad to be amoung the finalists at the Coventry university finale. The news caught me unaware and I got really good feedback from other participants, lecturers and organizers of the competition.

One mistake I realised I made was that I was talking too fast during my presentation.

The key things I addressed in my presentation are

  1. An engaging topic and introduction. I started my introduction by saying ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’. This is a popular religious phrase, however, I briefly explained the use of that phrase in my presentation. My advice is that when preparing for your 3MT, you should use a catchy topic and introduction.
  2. I involved my personal experience in the presentation and I made the audience feel what the victim
  3. The presentation was simple and straightforward. The presentation had a coherent and consistent flow by explaining why I decided to work on my thesis, what my research is addressing, the methodology that I used and that will be used, the importance of my research and who or what organisations it will be beneficial to.

I hope you enjoyed readng this and you have been able to have a broader understanding about the 3MT competition.


WHAT I LEARNT DURING MY FIRST YEAR OF Ph.D

It was a struggle and it is a progress not yet done. I was super excited to have started my Ph.D. and so far its been nothing less than I expected except the fact that sometimes I get lost during the Ph.D. adventure. The enthusiastic nature in me has kept me on my feet and I am always curious discover new things. Cutting the story short, below are the 10 main things I have learnt during the first year of my Ph.D.

  1. Self-Motivation: I have learnt that my motivation is key to the progress of my research. We all have a reason for choosing a particular research area and this should always motivate us. There have been times when I feel tired and confused but I persist in putting so much effort to achieve my goals. It is very important to have passion in ones research work, this will keep fueling the research energy.
  2. Accept rejections: There were several rejections I encountered, an example is journal article rejection but I have only learnt to work on it better and not to be disheartened.
  3. Seek assistance: Seeking advise from senior colleagues, lecturers and staff is very necessary. We can’t always assume to find answers without asking the more experienced persons.
  4. Identifying research aims and objectives: It is important to understand the reason why the research is been conducted, the contribution to knowledge and how the objectives will be achieved. This is major guide through the research.
  5. Accept new directions: There are lots of times my research was adjusted. An example was when I had to change my theoretical framework, this was a major challenge. Most times, new directions lead to positive results.
  6. Public speaking: I have never had fear of public speaking but this is one thing I have constantly engage in during my Ph.D journey. It is important to be happy about your research and willing to always talk about it. There are lots of presentations to be done either at the faculty or external events, although they are most times not compulsory but they are very good for personal development. I was always excited to make presentations, which hearten me to present at 2 different conferences in my first year.
  7. Discipline: Occasionally, I am tempted to spend time on distracting things instead of my research. I have realized that distraction is a tool that should be avoided and can self-discipline is a tool to fight it.
  8. Literature review: This is a continuous progress, it is important to keep up to date with the literature of your research. You can click on this link for the importance of literature review https://tobioyefeso.com/2020/05/12/importance-of-literature-review-in-social-sciences-humanities/ .
  9. Confidence: Having confidence in ones research work is awesome, this shows that you are conversant with your research and you understand the direction your research is going.
  10. Good relationship with supervisors: This can be tactic but it is very important to establish a good working relationship with supervisors.
  11. Organization: Staying organized is very important, I have always loved to work with a plan and prepare ahead of my days. Therefore, I didn’t find it difficult in organizing my research work. It is necessary to keep your calendar up to date, as there are lots of activities that will be occurring. Having said that, there are different tools that researchers use to organize their research such as Mendeley, Evernote, Microsoft One Note and so on.
  12. Social and Mental: There is more to life than just a PhD, I usually engage in other activities such as attending moot courts, tea breaks, catching up with colleagues, blogging, visiting places around, going to the gym, watch movie and others. I believe this helps to keep the social and mental health good. As a famous proverb says that ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’.