When it comes to feeling alone and isolated, somebody pursuing their Ph.D. or professional doctorate is susceptible. The process can seem overwhelming and even impossible at times. One thing that plays a key factor in the candidate alleviating these symptoms of isolation is for them to actively work at creating a sustainable and beneficial environment consisting of community. This community can consist of anybody, but Ph.D student, Ami Palmer, states in her blog that the most effective success network to surround oneself with is other graduate students. Palmer(2019) shares that you have to be willing to put in the work of building relationships and strengthening them for the support system to be effective, as a relationship in any aspect of life would work. “But here’s the catch. You can only have a community of people who care about you if you’ve invested in that community beforehand. Few people are sympathetic to those who only take support when they need it but are conspicuously absent when they don’t.”
When it comes to strengthening relationships with other doctoral candidates, it is important to create a relationship that thrives off of mutual support and partnership. This sets up both candidates for a healthy relationship that each will benefit from during their doctoral journey. The communal atmosphere of candidates should be one that thrives off of strength and encouragement. Although ideal, this type of relationship will not relish without being properly tended to. The candidate must invest his or herself into a community network in order to reap the rewards of genuine encouragement and the necessary communal atmosphere that a candidate pursuing a Ph.D. or doctoral candidate requires to thrive within their research studies.
A reliable web of support is not only beneficial, but some may argue that it is necessary to a candidate's mental health during the doctoral process. Palmer(2019) explains the reality of what one’s emotional well-being entails in the midst of earning a Ph.D. or professional doctorate. She states, “At some point (perhaps many) in grad school you will experience bouts of depression and despair–even if you aren’t typically disposed. The most effective buffer and remedy to depression is a community–friends that care about you and that understand what you’re going through; i.e., other grad students.”
To combat certain feelings of isolation, each candidate should do their best in nurturing relationships that would help them expand upon their web of support. As stated before, this support can be provided by anybody in the candidate's life, but having the emotional support and relatability from fellow doctoral candidates may equip the candidate with the right tools to feel more understood and heard regarding their personal challenges within the doctoral program. These support systems are very much possible to cultivate, as long as the candidate is willing to nurture the relationships with mutual respect and encouragement.
Are you feeling stuck in any area while writing your Dissertation? Obtaining a sense of community through those who have already gone through the rigorous process of obtaining a Ph.D. or professional doctorate and want to help you may be the right option for you. To see what the Scholars represent and what other services they provide to help, head over to their website by clicking the link below.
More resources: Registry is now open for the Doctoral Mind Webinar Series Part II. To register, click the link below.