A Definitive Guide to PhD (Pt 1)

16 09 2010

Hello Folks,

Welcome to the first part of “The Definitive Guide to PhD”. As an 8th year PhD student and with the due blessings of my seniors (9th to 11th year PhD students (uncles?)), I feel I am qualified enough to tell you newbs what to expect from your PhD. It’s always good to be prepared. Sun Tzu, as he says in, “The art of war”,

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.”

Sun Tzu

Not to say of course that PhD is a war. War is something where either of the sides can win. When it’s already decided that you are a loser, it can perhaps be called PhD, for simply lack of words.  But before you get disappointed, let me share my wealth of experience. The wise ones as they say learn from others mistakes. Though people and at times you, yourself would doubt how wise it was to have joined for PhD, be very sure that you have not made a mistake. Mistake is something that can be corrected. When it cannot be, it’s called a blunder.

For the first part, let’s describe the types of advisors or “guides” that you may come across. But before that, what should you know:

  • First and foremost, know that your boss is your God. (And do not forget, Yama, the God of death, too is a God.)

Yama: The Boss

  • The number of years you will take to finish you PhD is give by,

n = 3 (m+1)

where m is the number of years your boss says he will give your PhD in.

  • Your boss will never crush your dreams. The dreams with which you enter the campus like curing cancer or making a time machine or sorry…I forgot what mine was (it was at the beginning of this century, dude!) are simply unrealistic. All your boss does is to let you know that, journals like Science and Nature are out of your scope and you should be satisfied with the IEEE or Elsevier is where you belong.
  • Your boss does not have a big ego. However, it would still be wise if you never ever tell him something like, “But you only said it.”

Once you know these basic axioms, I will come up with the different “Types” of Boss in part two of the series. Until then, ya well… download movies from the repositories.



24 responses

16 09 2010

awesome vik

16 09 2010

Good one .. waiting for the next in the series .. 🙂

16 09 2010

Too good!!! 🙂

16 09 2010

very good!!
waiting 4 2nd series
n =3(m+1)? I think 2 is okey!!!

16 09 2010

For getting PhD….one must follow 2 rules and they are——

Rule number 1. BOSS is always right.
Rule number 2. if BOSS is wrong then follow rule number 1.

16 09 2010

Terrific: “But you only said it.” 🙂
Another one: “I came to you, but you were not there!”

16 09 2010
Kaustubh Joshi

8th year PhD student!!!!
How do you count years in IISc?
I guess you finished M.Sc in June,2004

16 09 2010
Vikrant P

That sounds a bit depressing. Yeah, it takes long. Way too long. But look at the bright side – you’ll be called a doctor without having to touch pus, mucus or dead people.

16 09 2010

Very Interesting .. Nice one Viki..

well.. i m kind of impressed with equation, n my boss generally says 5 years.. so u know rest of the story.. 2027 is year of submission 🙂

17 09 2010

be a little cautious in writing about guides at this stage,
i enjoyed the blog though

17 09 2010

Nice one.

17 09 2010

fantastic write up :

17 09 2010

laii bhari bhau blog

17 09 2010

Good work bro, waiting for the 2nd part.. I’m glad you are back to writing 🙂

17 09 2010

shouldn’t it be ” simple lack of words

18 09 2010

Same her. Visited your blog after ages! I like the cynicism…..but wish you can replace it soon with a happier ending! 🙂

20 09 2010

hmm, remembering the dreams we had in M.Sc., its pathetic to read this depressive stuff, f*** the research.

22 09 2010

its going to be a nice read!

5 10 2010

G8 job bro! After a looong time i read something nice! Is it a warning that you are giving prospective PhD students (read bakras) like me ? Waiting eagerly for your next piece! Till then peace be with you PhD. Btw my college is infested by the PhD uncles or may I say grand uncles???!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Though I fail to see anything ‘grand’ about them)

5 10 2010

hi viki really too good to……can’t believe you hv grown up and matured so much,don;t loose heart my son!
mrudula maushi

3 11 2010

Hey Prajjii,
Good one…
We were sailing the same boat.
Anyways, just now i learnt from Anuja about your thesis submission.
And Wish you happy birthday, …
I think, this is happy ending…

3 01 2011
2010 in review « Writings on My Wall

[…] The busiest day of the year was September 16th with 147 views. The most popular post that day was A Definitive Guide to PhD (Pt 1). […]

3 01 2011
2010 in review « Writings on My Wall

[…] The busiest day of the year was September 16th with 147 views. The most popular post that day was A Definitive Guide to PhD (Pt 1). […]

13 09 2017
teenage depression facts

Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to produce a superb article… but what can I say…
I procrastinate a whole lot and never seem to get anything done.

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