Starting a Phd

Key things to do before you start the perilous journey
  1. Talk to other PhD students in that lab
    It's important to know what students are going through and see if you can deal with the similar situation. You won't be special. If the prof is treating the other students like crap, chances are he/she will do it to you too.
  2. Ask former PhD students about life in the lab
    To know if the supervisor will help you after your studies. It's like a marriage, in good situations your supervisor will be your mentor for life. In the worse case it will result in a messing divorce like breakup
  3. Check out the status of the lab (check that they are productive)
    An over productive lab can mean a lot of stress or a well oiled machine. A non productive lab should not be touched with a yard stick
  4. Make sure your funding is secure
    Make sure you don't have to apply every year at the very least. See that you can go to conferences and that you know your budget limit
  5. Check that the prof makes time for each person (at least once a month)
    This is extraordinary important for a phd student. This isn't the same as a post doc or the junior meeting you. If the Prof doesn't see the importance in meeting with you when they brought you in to do the work, they don't care. You might as well throw away you studies right away.
  6. Make sure you have at least one other supervisor who has the same political and intellectual weight
    This is important both for developing an idea and also for if you and your Prof has problems, you'll need a middle person to see the middle ground if neither of you can
  7. Find a mentor
    Your therapist who is a scientist, not necessarily in your field
  8. Be apart of a student group that focuses on bettering your research
    Other students will help you detach and think about your project differently. They also will help with keeping the spirits alive
  9. Also look for hobbies
    Every famous scientist has a hobby...it's the perfect way to relax being alone and think about your work subconsciously. This is a great way to come up with new ideas.