Gotta Catch ‘Em All

My daughter used to be obsessed with Pokémon.

We watched every episode of two series, bought books about them, played with toys, looked through cards, role-played being in the world…

(she drove this process)


Pokémon has the famous tagline, “gotta catch ’em all” – which refers to collecting all the different creatures in the world of Pokémon. It’s an attitude I see expressed all the time around PhDs and the viva. People think they have to catch every typo before they submit. Anticipate every question. Read every paper. Perform every test. Do everything for their research, their thesis and their viva.

And none of this is possible. This is fine. You’re not expected to have done everything. Perfection is not the standard.

In case you ever confuse Pokémon and PhDs, remember:

  • Pokémon: gotta catch ’em all!
  • PhD: cannot catch ’em all!