Some advice for PhD students from recent PhD graduate, Kevin Murphy
The main purpose of a PhD is to learn how to become a competent researcher. You will never receive as much support for learning for the rest of your life, so use the opportunity to learn as many and as varied research skills as you can.
You will make mistakes during your PhD, it’s unavoidable. It’s ok because you have a team of people who will support you; your supervisor(s), older PhD students in your department, and the staff of the UCC Graduate Studies Office. Everyone who has passed their PhD has made mistakes that made them feel like they’ve wasted 2 or 3 months of work.
Don’t let your PhD become the sole activity in your life, though it can often be hard to resist. Doing this will only lead to stress and depression, and potential future employer will want to see that you were able to balance work and personal life. Joining a UCC Club or Society is a great way of relieving the stress of a PhD and meet other PhD students.
Make friends with other PhD students, whether in your department or not. Most of your friends and family will not understand what you are doing or why you don’t know when you’ll finish (unless they’ve done a PhD themselves). It’s important to become friends with people who can relate to what you’re experiencing.