Find a topic that interests YOU
Choose a topic that YOU are passionate about. By all means follow your supervisors and other professionals’ advice, but make your own choices. You will be focusing on the topic for at least 3 years so it is important that you are interested in it. Choose a realistic topic and keep your research questions to the point. Often PhD students beginwith overly-ambitious projects – remember it needs to be achievable.
4. Create a “thesis completion plan”
Prepare a detailed thesis completion plan for the timeframe allowed. Keep refining your plan as you progress! There are some great resources for this online if you search “Thesis completion plan templates”. Start by planning the chapters of your thesis, outline what each study will require and highlight when you want to submit your articles to journals. The more detailed, the better! Send your completion plan to your supervisors before each meeting so they can see how you are progressing.
5. Keep an open mind when responding to criticism
This one can be difficult, particularly as a new PhD student, but try not to take criticism and feedback from your supervisors to heart. You will get A LOT of this throughout your PhD, some will be positive and some will be negative. Try to remain level headed when responding and ask for clarification when needed. Remember there is a difference between confrontation and clarification – try to remain professional.