How many PhD students can really get ‘productive’ use output from their PhD research?

My PhD was one of the most rewarding projects of my life.

PhD topics
PhD topics

But I would give three (related) conditions to anyone thinking of doing the same.

1. You need stamina more than intelligence. A professor warned me before I started that a PhD is more a test of stamina than intelligence, and he was right. A PhD is like a marathon: it takes a very long time and there will be times when you’re on the verge of collapse and just want to quit. I’ve never seen anyone quit a PhD because they weren’t smart enough, but I’ve seen a lot of people burn out.

phd reseaech

2. You have to love it. It’s not just that there’s an uncertain job market and a strong likelihood that you’ll have to pursue a career outside academia once you’re done. It’s also that you’ll never reach the finish line if you’re thinking about the finish line. What’s most important is a research topic that you can wake up every day for five-plus years and be genuinely interested in pursuing. The attitude that got me through was that I could honestly say to myself throughout the process that, regardless of what I ended up doing in the future, this project in itself was worth giving several years of my life to because I really wanted to figure it out. Many of the people I know who quit got to a point where their project simply didn’t sustain their interest enough.

What are the various questions asked in Ph.D. ?
What are the various questions asked in Ph.D. ?

3. You have to be self-motivated and independent. For someone prone to depression, a PhD project is like an open bar is to someone prone to alcoholism. You have to spend a lot of time alone with minimal supervision. If you don’t do any work for a month, there’s a good chance no one will notice. If you can’t push yourself to do this work, no one else is going to do the pushing for you. And trust me, it’s really hard to push yourself day in day out when you know that no one will notice or care if you take the day off and play video games instead.

I know a lot of people who completed PhD’s and a lot of people who started and didn’t finish.


The people I know who have dropped out are generally exceptionally intelligent, sensitive, rounded human beings.

If anything, these qualities are a hindrance because they make one prone to second-guessing.


There’s no shame in dropping out, but you also might want to think twice about starting if you think you’re unlikely to be able to see it through.

In case you need guidance you please contact the undersigned.

Dr. Pawan Whig

1 thought on “How many PhD students can really get ‘productive’ use output from their PhD research?”

  1. Pingback: IoT based Antitheft Model Latest Research Project

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.