Category Archives: Career Advice

HOW TO BAG A PhD POSITION IN TAIWAN

What did you do to get this position? This is the question often asked by my juniors and others looking for a PhD position. After a long duration of laziness, I am finally sitting on my chair to attempt it. It is better to divide the procedure into the vital steps. I am not going into the philosophy associated with the choice of pursuing a PhD or not. I assume that the reader wants a PhD and that is what will be answered here, in the best possible way.

The first step is to go to the website of the University where you want to try. I often recommend the rankings published by Times Higher Education and QS Rankings. Once you find a University, then you should find a professor whose work interests you. Almost every University lists the details of its academic and scientific staff under the academic>departments>faculty/personnel tab.  With some practice, anyone can easily zero in on a Professor or lab of choice. The next crucial step is to decide a format for mailing the concerned Professor. Generic e-mails have a negligible chance of inducing a reply. For reference, I have attached a sample which has shown a good success rate for applicants in Taiwan. Do not forget to attach your specifically made resume in the mail.

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Rough Draft of an E-mail

After you get the reply, review the admission formalities which are often available under the admissions tab of the University’s website. It is often given as a PDF brochure and it contains everything about the admission requirements. In Taiwan, the common requirements are the following:

  • A proof of English proficiency such as TOEFL (requires about 70-90) or IELTS (requires a score of 6-8)
  • Recommendation letters: Some Universities require your referees to fill up the online form while others just need a letter on a official letter-head (Sample attached in the following)
  • A research proposal: This is just to prove that you can think of some scientific problems and ways to solve it. You have to prove your aptitude, which is the raw material of becoming a researcher (Sample attached in the following)
  • Some Universities ask for a Study Plan which is similar to a statement of purpose (Sample attached in the following)
  • Rest of the requirements vary from course to course and one can easily find them out in the brochure document
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Sample of a recommendation letter

The following is a sample of research proposal:

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Sample of a Research Proposal

 

The following is a sample of a study plan:

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A Sample of Study Plan

Usually, there is no application cost for the Universities in Taiwan. One has to send the hard copies of the application document to the University. I hope it solves the initial confusion of how to look for PhD positions. For further queries, you can ask your questions in the comments below or mail me at <4yearoldadult@gmail.com>

Good luck to everyone.

 

 

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The Last Resort

As I begin this piece of writing, let me make it very clear that I am neither an Agnostic nor an extreme Believer, but I am somewhere in between. So you can let your guard down because I am not going to pen down some lecture on the existence of God. The ways to counter against negativity is the underlying tone of my post.

Everybody of us faces that such situation in life where we feel like running away from situations, a few of my readers might even be pondering upon the idea of suicide. Let me tell you one simple fact which can drive you through the most difficult phases of life:

“When you have nowhere to go, listen to your inner voice and surrender yourself” 

I never try to impose my views upon anyone, but I would like to suggest you to at least try it once. You have nothing to lose. You may customize the above saying as per your preferences, you may either surrender yourself to the will of God or you can talk to yourself. From my personal experiences, I can say that my inner voice is wiser than the real me. The issues of life may range from relationships with your girlfriend, career crisis, financial troubles etc. The problems are numerous but they all have a common solution, You can believe in me because I was in a bit of distress when I began this piece of writing and I feel better now. Negativity is like drowning in a marshy land with a tonne attached to your feet, the more you try to come out the deeper you will get into it. You do not need to apply some rocket science in order to conclude that it is always better to avoid such marshy lands. If I am yet to convince you then you may try your luck at convincing me by letting me know about the positives we derive from taking tension because of such issues. Come one, have a go at it. I guess you know it now. Isn’t it? There are more interesting things than reading a blog, go out and check out something you love, maybe the beauty of nature or the nature of beauty.

©4yearoldadult

©4yearoldadult

The real meaning of career and the myths associated with it

“You have to earn a living”
“Higher education help a lot”
“You need to work hard in order to raise a family later”
“What am I gonna do after this?”

On reading the above statements, if you feel related then you are reading the right material. First of all, I request you to stop thinking about career as a career. And for this to happen, we must try to explore the in-depth meaning of this hyped word. I might not be correct politically, but I am wise enough to say wise words on this topic. The statements mentioned above are all myth. Career is just a sort of work which we enjoy doing, it can be a leisure activity or a scientific interest. You don’t have to go for doctoral education if you really want to solve a scientific question. Similarly, you do not need a degree in trekking in order to explore the trails of The Himalayas. The road towards your passion is obviously difficult, but it can lead us to success if we stick to our plans. If you love photography, continue moving around with your camera and do not listen to anyone whispering the aforementioned statements. Never listen to anyone who says this can’t be done. “Impossible in Nothing”, this must not sound like a new saying but it is true.

Another issue which often brushes one’s mind is the financial aspects. It depends on your personal outlook. You have to choose either money or happiness and satisfaction. I cannot deny the fact that there are few career options which will give you both money and happiness, for e.g. a successful photographer can build numerous assignments, which will ultimately lead to hefty paychecks. The bottom line is that one must enjoy his/her work. One must not choose a career with an objective of making money. Money is secondary, choice is the primary thing. I have myself been pursuing something which I do not like, it makes me feel like a laggard because I do not like it and thus I fail to give it my all. One cannot succeed without giving it all, the thought of ‘not going home without spending every bit of energy one has got’ drives the most passionate minds. This passion stems from interest.

If you play computer games, just tell me one thing. How many times have you installed a game and finished it in one day, or fer hours? I am sure that most of us have done this. For such dedication and determination, what is the reason you can think of? It is definitely your passion for it, the joy you derive when you finish a game successfully. If you love trekking, just imagine yourself at the top of The Himalayas. Once you finish reading this line, close your eyes and feel the cool wind flowing through the valleys, snow capped peaks. Open up your arms, feel free. This is happiness. It is invisible but we can feel it. If you love writing, visualize yourself signing novels for your fans. This feeling of completeness is ineffable. This is what a career must provide, a sustained sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.

Coming to a person of entirely different persona, one who thinks he must get married and settle down in his life. Dude! Suppose you get married now, enjoy a love filled life for the initial years. What next? Having babies, going to office daily, coming back and going to bed. Is this how you want to spend next 20-30 years of your life? Nobody loves to live like this. I have seen couples; any level of romance cannot keep you ignited forever. One needs to work on it. This boils down to the theme of this post, work on something you love. Money will come, do not worry. Just stay positive and things will turn out to be to your liking.

“Open up your wings and fly, there is a whole world to explore”

©4yearoldadult

The Dilemma of Notice Period

Do you think your boss bears some resemblance to a mutant, which is on a blood trail? If yes, then you should not waste your time here and you better get work desk moving. If you did not get the pun in my previous statement than I better stop writing from this very moment. Do not take the title seriously, it was chosen in my own casual way. Our beloved Google defines Notice Period as this “The notice period is the time period between the receipt of the letter of dismissal and the end of the last working day. This time period has to be given to an employee by his employer before his employment ends.” I have faced this situation and I felt like a husband who has to live with a lady whom he already divorced. Believe me, this feeling has its own implications. It had a positive impact on me, I felt like a free bird because the transition period between my current assignment and the new one was like a long-awaited vacation and I was getting paid for it.

However, this might not be the case with everyone. The wiser side of me suggests that one must continue working sincerely during a notice period because this may help you in getting a good repute, which may lead to a good recommendation in future. One must not confuse ‘working sincerely’ with ‘working hard’. Hard work does not always mean that your productivity is on the higher side. If you can work for 8 hours with peak concentration, then that is much better than a 12 hours slog. You do not have to prove your sincerity to anyone, just be sincere to yourself and you will find some rewards along the way. The notice period is a welcome break from your stressful life and one must utilize it to explore the dynamic features of the world. Going to a bar all alone and meeting random people is a precious feeling. Life does not throw such opportunities often, and when it does, you must utilize it to the full effect. Career is not Life and vice versa is also not true. This is not philosophy, this is the practical understanding of life. When you become too indulgent with your career, you blame life for being so harsh on you. Draw a line of separation between your career and life and give them the space they deserve, neither less nor more than that. Work sincerely for your career, it will give you rewards, use those rewards to live life in its true shape.

©4yearoldadult