The Seven Secrets of Highly Successful Doctoral Students

I have recently attended a workshop called “The Seven Secrets of Highly Successful Doctoral Students”, held by Mr. Hugh Kearns. I would like to share these seven secrets with the research students. These seven secrets are as follows:

1. Care and maintenance of your supervisor

We should keep in mind that our supervisors are always busy and have many priorities along with our project. As it is our research, we need to become the driver. We should ask our supervisors to arrange meetings on a regular basis, even if we have done nothing! This way, we can use their valuable and practical tips and move our project forward. After each meeting, an agenda shall be prepared to indicate the following issues:

  • What I have done since last time
  • Questions/ issues
  • Feedback
  • What I will do next week
  • When is the next meeting?

2. Write and show as you go

Although it seems time-consuming, it is required that the research students regularly write since writing is a creative process clarifying thinking as well as developing ideas. We usually like to write when we feel we are ready, but we may never feel ready; therefore, we should write early, preferably in the morning, on a regular basis. Furthermore, we should get feedback from our supervisors and peers as writing is not improved by itself.

3. Be realistic

4. Say no to distractions

Social media is the number one distraction for wasting our time and for not doing work.

5. It’s a job

Although we should work for a certain amount of time daily, we have holidays as well. Thus, if we specify at what times we should focus on our work and when we do not have to work, we will get more done.

6. Get help

7. You can do it

One of the primary things that can help us significantly is perseverance, and the role of hardworking in making better progress is much more critical than intelligence.



This article was written by Mahdieh Mosayebias part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.

Mahdieh is researching the Design of Self Lubricating Prothesis at ETH Zurich, Switzerland.