Keep A Record

From day one of your PhD keep a record whenever you achieve something.

  • Learn something new? Write it down.
  • Finish a project? Write it down.
  • Read a helpful paper? Write it down.
  • Complete a task even when it is difficult? Write it down and underline it.
  • Thrive in a challenging meeting? Write it down and add an asterisk.
  • Present your work in any format? Write it down, underline, asterisk and break out the highlighter!

From the start of your PhD, keep a record of your achievements – and by the end not only will you have a very impressive record indeed, but you’ll have a strong sense of confidence that your talent, capability and knowledge have grown.


If today is not day one of your PhD – if it’s more like day one thousand, say – you can still get some of these benefits for yourself.

Start keeping the record today and invest some time in looking back. Remember the times when you learned something, finished a project or read a helpful paper. Make note of the challenging tasks you persevered with, when you rose to the challenge of a discussion or presented your work.

Day one or day one thousand, there’s always time to build up your confidence for your viva. You always have an opportunity to do something to build the certainty that you’ve done something good in your research and that you are good enough as you are.