Most people would consider a holiday in Bali a great opportunity to relax and unwind. You get to enjoy the beautiful sun, eat some amazing food, and lounge by the pool. Who wouldn’t enjoy this scenario? I agree, it all sounds amazing. The problem is, my PhD decided to join me on vacation, and a PhD is not the greatest travel companion. It all started on Friday afternoon. I uploaded the final draft of my PhD progress report to Google Docs for my supervisors to review. I had been working on this draft for weeks and I finally felt I was making progress. Since it was Friday, I figured my supervisor wouldn’t have a chance to review anything until Monday, so I planned a relaxing weekend in the sun. Well, let’s just say it didn’t go exactly as I planned.
Doctoral students engaged in the process of becoming a knowledge expert and doing something new, novel, and exciting may end up in a research area that is a little outside the primary expertise of their supervision team. When supervisors fall short, it’s time to find other academics who can help fill in the blanks of the PhD puzzle – and today it’s easier than ever to network with academics to succeed in your PhD. For example, students may benefit from using Google Scholar or from becoming a member of any number of online spaces used by academics to interact and connect. This chapter will help PhD students prepare for real-life conversations, break down their internal barriers to networking, and get value from their encounters. It also provides advice on how to foster ongoing relationships with your network, before ending with a few key lessons aimed to help PhD students engage and network effectively with academics.