Being a researcher is the most advanced form of being in an academic journey. A researcher is expected to create new concepts and knowledge in the field of academics or even outside. I, as a researcher have found myself struggling with it often. Doing a transition of knowledge from reproduction to creation has been something I have found myself struggling with.
Unfortunately, I believe that our education system is such that we have always been given the authoritarian environment in academics which restricts critical thinking. I remember that during my high school and undergraduate days, we were expected to produce exactly what the professors told us to do so. Going beyond the content and recommended books was pretty much like acting “smart”. Habituated to study in this limited exposure that we get, a researcher often finds the critical exposure environment quite challenging to cope up with. You know, suddenly you are expected to generate new knowledge, publish original papers and also contribute towards the existing knowledge economy. Well, not an easy task. What can one do to cope up with it?
The biggest help that can come your way is from your supervisor. A supportive supervisor can help you to tune up your mind to think like a researcher. Another important way is to find support in your peer as peer can be a very powerful asset. Their perspective can become a very important asset to broaden your horizons. To add to it, if you are aware what your doctoral programme will demand from you, it is very important to develop the right attitude and instead of getting disheartened, take every challenge and problem as a learning experience rather than a hurdle.
I believe that a PhD is complete 360 degree analysis of your life and analysis and every day the external world would throw new challenges and opportunities and you would have to work around them in the capacity of your strengths and weaknesses.
Lastly, during those days of disheartenment, do not feel bogged down as you know that every step in your PhD is towards creating your future and a learning experience that would help you to make a positive difference in not just your but others life as well.
Do not forget the magic mantra, "Stay positive, stay motivated and get down to work!! It is now or never!!"