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Make the Most of It

Being a PhD student can be anxiety inducing, but also fun. Over at Bitesize Bio, Nick Oswald offers some pointers on getting the most out of a PhD.

Topping his list is to be certain that you actually want to pursue a doctoral degree. "Being a PhD student is not the same as being an undergrad, nor like working as a research assistant," he cautions. "A PhD is extremely hard work requiring a lot of discipline and dedication. Don't just start a PhD because it's the line of least resistance."

An important next step is to choose your supervisor carefully. Don't, he says, just choose someone because he or she is a big shot in the field. Instead, talk to current lab members about their experience in the lab and with the supervisor.

And once you get going in the lab, Oswald urges finding a balance between lab and life. "It's not all hard work and heartache," he says. "Smell the flowers as you go along, enjoy the people around you and make sure you have some fun!"