No PhD candidate is an island. PhD research is as much a collective effort as it is individual, blogger Nadya Karimasari discovers.
PhD candidates are often seen as someone who works in isolation, like a hermit. They are living inside their mind or busy with their hectic schedules in the laboratory, with deadlines upon deadlines of paper writing.
They are very focused, slightly obsessive even, with their research and find social life an exhausting burden or a waste of time. This narrow perception of PhDs overlooks the collective aspect of doing research.
As much as each researcher is individually responsible for what she/he produces, every research is a collective work. From my experience as a beginner, the process of doing a (social) research is often not linear.
A lot of factors cannot be predicted nor anticipated beforehand. Element of surprise is always expected, and it is a good thing. Most of the times, happenstances play key role in making the research move forward. Without a support system, it is difficult to deal with each challenge that comes along.
I get a lot of support from the very start of my PhD journey. Besides paying monthly allowance, the scholarship that I receive from NWO also covers my research expenditure and book spending. It also provide money to organize a national seminar in my home country at the end of my study.
Another unexpected perk of working on my research project was the new laptop the university provided me with. It makes me so happy to finally have an organized way of accessing my files and folders; which is very crucial for managing my research efficiently.
The university also allocates a “self-development” budget per annum for each student. This funding is used to pay for summer schools, workshops, or conferences. With this support, I can register to any classes or events necessary to stimulate my process of creating a good research project.
It doesn’t have to be directly linked with the theme of my project; it can also be about general skills that I consider useful. I am thrilled to be selected as a participant of a summer school highly relevant to my research topic with top quality tutors in Zurich this September.
Budgetary support is important, but the core support system is the people. Building collegial bonding is an ongoing process and I would like to see more work done to strengthen this aspect.