Skip to main content

Seven Secrets of Highly Successful Research Student

Seminar Notes written by
Dina Said (Phd Student, Database Lab at University of Calgary)

1) Care & maintenance of Supervisor:
Know yourself and your supervisor. People are either do'ers or thinkers. If your supervisor is a thinker, always ask them multi-choice questions. Do u think (a) or (b) is better? They will probably tell you and there are also (c) and (d) and (e). Limit them always to tell you one direction rather than thinking and thinking and thinking without an action.
On the other hand, if you supervisor is a do'er and they always tell you do stuff because they think it is just good to try them out. Try to always ask how this is aligned with your thesis question.

Also, it is good to prepare an agenda for meeting with your supervisor, be clear on what to ask, at the end of the meeting tell them what you are going to do next, clearly specify your problems, and have meetings on a regular/frequent basis..Additionally, it is always good to send emails before and after the meeting and print out the agenda and bring it with you.

If you didn't do anything, go to the meeting to discuss why you don't do anything. Are you stuck in something? Do you have problems? It is always good to have meetings on a regular base.

Remember supervisors are busy. Your thesis may be on the top priority of your A List but it may be on the bottom of their priority C list after teaching, administration, etc... However, it's their job to supervise you. But, u should remember that you are the driver of the car not them.

(2) Write and show as you may go

Write journals (log files) of what you have done, write summaries of papers you are reading, it doesn't have in the final shape of the thesis. Remember that it is a "draft and you are develop your writing skills along the way.

(3) Be realistic in your goals ( I' m not a Nobel Prize) *replication in different context
PhD is like adding a grain of sand to one beach. It won't change the world

The issue is that through doing a PhD, u learn to do research and u help your research brain grow so that u can proceed later

(4) Say no to distractions (esp checking e-mails early in the morning, going with friends for coffee break for 2 hrs, social networking, reading news for 2 hrs.. Newton's 3rd Law of Dissertation states that for every action there is an equal and opposite distraction :) ..

An advice that will increase your productivity by at least 10% is to start with your work the first thing in the morning. Postpone emails, FB, etc... for at least 2 hours. Start with the real work, get into the mood, this should motivate you to continue even if you get distracted later.

(5) It's a job ( it's working time..know when to work and when not to work!)

Time for work is time for work. Time for vacation is a time for vacation. Graduate students are feeling guilty all the time because they think they should be working 24/7 but the issue is that they don't really work nor enjoy their lives.

Commit yourself to certain amount of time along the day to work and then enjoy your life after that without any guilty feeling :)

(6) Get help (such as formatting, editing, transcribing, collecting data, technology, baby sitter, cleaner etc)

PhD is a hard thing to do. It is OK to ask people to help or even pay for them to do so.

It is also ok to accept that your home wouldn't be the cleanest home in Canada. Accept the reality that you can't be everything perfectly.

It is ok also to buy ready-made or half ready-made food instead of wasting the whole weekend cooking (additional tip from Dina Said to Arab ladies including herself;) ).

(7) You can do it (90% Persistence & 10% intelligence).

The good news is that 1% of people fail to get PhD (at least in Australia). So, you can do it if you are persist enough :)

Summarized by Sivaramakrishnan Iyer and Dina Said

More resources at


Towhid said…
Nice thing . Thx for sharing!

Popular posts from this blog

Creating dynamic email templates using C# and Office Outlook

It is quite common for many applications to send automated email notifications. Couple of months ago, I have worked on improving our old email template format to make it more user friendly.
In this tutorial I will walk you though regarding how I took advantage of Microsoft Outlook to quickly generate custom email template and later using the html template for building an automated custom email application using C#.

Steps:Creating Templates: Using the rich text editor support  in Outlook create a nicely formatted email. Use placeholder text for the values you like to change dynamically based on your task completion status.

To keep this tutorial simple, I have created a  simple table with placeholder text inside the third bracket [place holder text]. However, you can use anything supported by outlook editor.Getting HTML code: Send the created email to your own address. After that, open the sent email and right click to view source. It will display the HTML source of the email body with …

Persian Music - Homayoon - Nemitonam English lyrics

I love this song. I have requested one of my Persian friend to translate it for me and she did really nice job.. I am sure you will love it..

"The person who was the only person I had,
was the only refuge of my lonely heart,
Left me alone and went from my side
I am restless form the pain of her separation

I thought she stays with me
sings love song for me
I thought she understand my words
I didn’t know she’s unkind

Though gone, but still
I am full of her love
Her thought is always with me
Wherever I go, she is in front of my eyes, in front of my eyes
I want to stand out
find a way to reduce my pain of her separation
But it is not possible, There is no way
I cannot bear
I cannot bear

The person who was the only person I had,
was the only refuge of my lonely heart,
Left me alone and went from my side
I am restless form the pain of her separation

I thought she stays with me
sings love song for me
I thought she understand my words
I didn’t know she’s unkind

Though gone, but still
I …

How to setup remote debugging on a remote machine running within a VM?

This guide will show step-by-step instructions of setting up a remote machine for remote debugging using Visual Studio 2013 Prerequisite:
Visual Studio 2013 or laterRemote machine running Windows 7 within a VM playerNote: Since Visual Studio 2012, Microsoft only supports remote debugging for Windows 7 or newer. To remote debug Windows XP, you'll need to use an older version of Visual Studio and its respective remote debugging tools.
 Step-by-step guide:Download and copy the Remote Tools in your Win7 VM.You must get the update version of the Remote Tools for Visual Studio 2013 that matches the update version of your Visual Studio installation.Install the Remote tools in your VM.After installation, run the Remote Debugger Navigate to Tools->Options MenuEnsure that Windows Authentication is selected. Press OK.Open Visual Studio in your local machine.Make sure you have setup the remote machine in the project you like to remote debug as shown in the following figure.

 You also need to u…