PhD Advice

#1 advice, don't do it.

Getting a PhD isn't for everyone, it's hard in ways that aren't obvious. I could list 100s of reasons why getting a PhD isn't a good idea. Think critically about "why" you want to get a PhD.

I sought out getting a PhD for two reasons: (1) I wanted to learn more about AR, VR, and immersive technology and (2) I wanted to be the change I wanted to see, a Black male Professor, in my life I've never had a Black male educator from pre-K to PhD...

Those were my reasons, think long and hard about yours...bc if you decide that in the middle you want to switch careers you can't put partially completed a PhD on a resume...

#2 what will be your area of expertise?

I pursued AR/VR bc I knew one day it would be relevant and that I would be able to get a job. If you pick a topic you are passionate about, think long and hard about what potential careers may look like.

#3 develop an appetite for learning.

Youre going to be an expert right? well you need to learn everything you can about the past, present, and likely future of your area of expertise. This should be second nature, I still habitually peruse conference proceedings and have google alerts set up for keywords relating to VR etc.

#4 don't half ass it

I wish this was more obvious. There is a thing as lazy science. Aim to be novel, interesting, and most importantly make sure your work has some impact on the broader society.

#5 support system.

Aim to work with advisors both formal and informal that really want the best for you. Its even better when their goals align with your goals! Second, you need a group of friends/family that could care less about the "scientific rigor" and the "academic" process, these people will keep you grounded.

#6 get a hobby.

The best advice I got from a senior PhD student was to get a hobby that I could continually work on that would help me "feel" like I am progressing regardless of how things are in my PhD. I played and still play videogames, they help me think, process, and is something I can continually work on.

#7 own it.

This last bit is really difficult bc in academia you constantly have imposter syndrome... until you dont. That being said own your work, be proud of it, and share it with broader audiences.

#8 go to conferences and network

You should have the mentality that you are always on the market, always looking for your next opportunity, collaboration, internship, or full-time employment. Networking is the name of the game, its not about what you know, its more about who knows you and will vouch for you.