🎙️ The 3 STRUGGLES You’re Bound To Face

(And how to deal with them…)

By: Derek Jansen (MBA) and Ethar Al-Saraf (PhD) | April 2024

Writing a dissertation or thesis is no small task – just ask any ABD. The academic research journey is one filled with trials and tribulations, especially for new researchers. In this episode, we dive into the familiar challenges that daunt new and first-time researchers embarking on their dissertation or thesis journey.

If you’re currently working on a dissertation or thesis, don’t forget to download our free tried and trusted template to help you along your journey!

Episode Summary


Struggle 1: Difficulties with Advisors and Supervisors

One of the most common hurdles you might encounter is navigating the relationship with your research advisor or supervisor. Many students report mismatches in expectations and a perceived lack of support.

To smooth these potential rough patches, we recommend establishing clear role definitions and expectations right from your initial meeting. In practical terms, this usually means having a frank discussion with your advisor about what you can expect from them and what they are looking for from you. This type of proactive communication helps prevent misunderstandings and sets a solid foundation for the relationship.

Struggle 2: Isolation and Time Management in Research

Research can often feel like a solitary marathon. The quiet hours spent alone can lead to feelings of isolation and stress. However, it’s important to manage your time wisely and ensure you’re not just working hard but also working smart. To this end, it’s always useful to reach out to peers who share similar experiences or challenges. Building a community, even if it’s virtual, can provide significant emotional and intellectual support.

Additionally, integrating effective time management strategies, like the Pomodoro Technique, can help break your work into manageable segments, allowing for regular breaks to clear your mind and refresh your focus.

Struggle 3: Imposter Syndrome

Feeling like a fraud is a common thread among many scholars, particularly those new to conducting research. This phenomenon, known as imposter syndrome, can severely impact your confidence and productivity. It’s important to understand that this is a normal part of the academic experience.

To combat these feelings, we recommend that you embrace them as signs of your growth and ambition. Double-check your work, seek feedback, and remember that every researcher starts somewhere. You’re learning and improving, which is the real measure of progress.

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