I've already posted two questions regarding this(here and here). I've gotten excellent answers but I'm still confused and this question, I believe will answer all of my doubts.

Could someone who has done a PhD or is doing it, share his/her experience? Give an overview of your full experience from the first day till the last day. What did you do in your first year, how did you choose your topic, how your advisor helped you when you got stuck, how doing the Phd developed your problem-solving skills, etc. Please include technical terms when they help you get a point across. For example, if your PhD was related to building a quantum computer, include terms like qubits, etc.

Basically, just walk me through your PhD, so that I get a good idea what exactly one does in a PhD, what sorts of problems does one encounter, and how your advisor helped you.

  • 1
    Sorry, I'm afraid it's impossible to answer this in the scope of a Stack Exchange answer! It would take an entire book. In fact, here is one such book - and it's a free ebook, enjoy :)
    – ff524
    Nov 24, 2016 at 7:42
  • (Also note that everyone has a different PhD experience - due to variation between educational systems in different countries or differences between academic disciplines, due to different advising styles, and due to differences in personal characteristics. My experience, for example, was nothing like the one described in the book referenced above, and I share some of these concerns about that book.)
    – ff524
    Nov 24, 2016 at 7:47
  • I think I can relate. When I was in fourth grade, a NASA engineer visited my class and gave a slide show presentation about his work. In the Q & A, I attempted to find out what a typical day at work looked like for him, but I had some trouble articulating my question. It came out, "What do you do every day?" The engineer looked a little exasperated and sad, gestured at the screen, and said, "What I've just explained." So I will propose an edit to your question, in an attempt to get it re-opened. See what you think. Nov 24, 2016 at 21:36
  • @ff524 +1 for recommending me that book. I've read his book. The insight I got by reading his book is that you do most of the work by yourself with little or no help from your advisors and this type of research can be done at home or in industry by collaborating with professors you know(where you did your undergrad or other professionals who know you well) and publish your results without enrolling in a PhD program.
    – Gary Grey
    Nov 25, 2016 at 2:26
  • 1
    @GaryGrey It seems like you're determined to believe that the experience of a PhD can be replicated at home, by yourself. As I said, everyone has a different PhD experience the author of that book felt that his advisors offered little or no help; my experience has been the opposite. The author of that book also does not say anywhere in that book that he thinks he could have achieved the same outside of a PhD program; the author benefited in many ways from being in a formal PhD program, which may be difficult to recognize until one tries going the independent-researcher route!
    – ff524
    Nov 25, 2016 at 2:30


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