Maintaining motivation and connection

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Staying motivated

Repeatedly hitting that snooze button? Ignoring the blank page? You might need a motivation boost!

The research process is complex and takes place over an extended period of time, so it’s unsurprising that motivation fluctuates. At times you’ll feel bogged down in research activities, and other times you might question your ability.

When motivation wanes, remind yourself why you chose to do a PhD. Reflect on your passion for your chosen research project, the satisfaction of contributing to the field of study, the precious connections with like-minded individuals in the pursuit of knowledge, and the personal and career growth that a PhD can provide.

Or, perhaps, list down ten things to love about your PhD, drawing inspiration from Cassandra Wardle’s post titled “Loving the PhD life“.

In the following activity, you will find some useful strategies to maintain your motivation throughout your research journey.

Activity: Sustaining motivation

Staying connected

While undertaking a research degree is an opportunity to experience the joy of independent research, doing a PhD or Master’s by research can be an isolating experience. Research shows that one in four doctoral candidates feel lonely and isolated at some point through their research.

For even the most independent of introverts, it is important to prioritise connection and community throughout your research degree. Staying connected through your candidature can be as simple as sending a text or calling a friend or family member for a chat. You might even head to the local library or café to work around other people.

Staying connected with others can enhance your wellbeing and your overall HDR experience. There are many ways you can connect with fellow HDRs on campus: attending events (through the School of Graduate Research, your school or college), setting up a reading group or social club, connecting with a research centre or group or joining an existing RMIT club. You can find or start a club through RMIT social clubs and societies or one of RUSU’s social, academic, cultural and spiritual clubs.

If you’re feeling lost, ask your supervisor or HDR Coordinator for some guidance on groups and events in your area.

If you are a new candidate, attending your school orientation will help you meet other researchers and identify research centres and groups through your school or college.




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Research and Writing Skills for Academic and Graduate Researchers Copyright © 2022 by RMIT University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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