Thrive PhD
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I wanted to do more than just survive

Thrive PhD is helping me develop skills that will be valuable throughout my career. I know this because I’ve recently come to my doctoral programme (and Thrive) with a career already under my belt, having run my own professional services firm for a number of years. This means I already had a reasonably well-developed set of tools for getting things done, and for handling the usual ups and downs that come with managing a project at a high level. I’m in the very early stages of my doctoral programme, but when I came across Katy’s blog posts online and they resonated with me, I thought I’d give Thrive a go. I’m so glad I did.

Thrive PhD offers me far more than I could have ever expected. The community is a hub of useful, smart, and insightful conversation and activity, ably headed up by an experienced, wise and perceptive coach. Through its fantastic curriculum, regular coaching calls, and non-judgemental check-ins, I’m learning how to develop and consistently maintain a set of knowledge, skills and behaviours that allow me to manage the realities of academia in a more healthy, helpful way than if I were doing this on my own. The programme runs through a self-contained platform that is not connected to other online networks, so there’s an unusually strong level of honesty, sincerity and safety that’s as refreshing as it is valuable. Best of all, egos are left at the door and everyone just gets on with the business of working through their own stuff, while making progress on their PhDs in whatever way that needs to happen, every hour, day, week and month. There’s something pretty powerful about getting to see how a wide range of smart people deal with a surprisingly similar set of successes and struggles on a day-to-day basis.

Cost-effective way to get some coaching

The folks in Thrive have been really great. They've cheered me on the good days and offered support on the not-so-good days. I really look forward to the Work Together sessions and they have definitely helped me to get work done on days when I've been struggling.

I'm so glad I joined Thrive. It's a very cost-effective way to get some coaching and support from peers who are experiencing similar things, and can offer suggestions based on what they've seen and heard, and what has worked for them. Plus, Katy offers excellent advice and since she's not someone who is directly involved in my graduate program, it feels less threatening. I'm able to implement the suggestions I think might work for me, and tailor others that might not be as ideal.

The daily encouragement and check-ins from my group members, along with the support, encouragement, and gifs from Katy are a really nice source of support as I go through this stressful (sometimes very lonely) PhD process!

Through Thrive, I’m not just navigating a path through my PhD. I’m also learning how to become the kind of academic I’ve always aspired to be, on my own terms and without losing myself in the process. In this way, Thrive is helping me push through boundaries in multiple spheres of life. It’s helping me create my ultimate doctoral experience!

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Not just a place for PhD students to complain

Thrive and Katy have dramatically transformed my PhD experience. Graduate school can be super isolating, and I was nervous because I was starting Thrive as I was moving away from campus and I knew that I wouldn’t be seeing my peers every day. Through Thrive, I’ve found a wonderful community and I am in touch every day with people who care about my success.

I feel really supported every day, and I know that people will notice if I don’t check in. Having that level of support has been absolutely incredible. It’s the unique combination of support through knowing that there are others going through the same things as me and the specific strategies and tips shared in the curriculum that has made the difference for me.

The first three years of graduate school were really tough for me, and I knew that I needed to seek out additional resources to strengthen my emotional fortitude. The culture of my department is very performance-oriented, and it’s not common to share failures or struggles. I love that Thrive is not just a place for PhD students to complain, but rather it is a supportive network that provides concrete action steps to help each member be successful. Because of Thrive and the strategies I learned, I am learning how to work around my perfectionistic tendencies and I am happy that I just submitted a draft of my dissertation to proposal to my advisor. I can’t recommend it enough!

External Accountability

I joined Thrive at the beginning of my final year of grad school. At the time I was about three quarters of the way through data collection, and in the early stages of drafting my dissertation. I had really struggled with the flexibility (read: lack of structure) around my program and this only seemed to get worse as I moved from the proposal/confirmation stage to fieldwork. When I joined Thrive I felt that I was struggling to make progress, that my days weren't productive, and that I was incapable of following the plans and schedules I developed for myself to get the work done.

When I joined the Thrive community, I was particularly looking for a way to build some external accountability into my day - my favourite part of Thrive is the daily accountability check-ins. I expected that I could force myself into getting more done each day by harnessing the guilt and shame I would feel if I didn't meet the goals that I shared with my accountability group. What I didn't expect was that Thrive would be a kind and compassionate space where people could share their daily grad school struggles and triumphs. Thrive is a place where I can celebrate wins every day, whether big or small. Katy and the Thrive community have taught me that celebrating what I have achieved each day is a much healthier, sustainable and effective way to build momentum than berating myself for failing to cross every single task off my to-do list.

I've also found the weekly curriculum posts incredibly useful. Through these, I've discovered a range of new approaches that I can take to my work. Thrive is a place where I can try out those different approaches in a curious way. Being able to reflect on this process with regular feedback and guidance from Katy has helped me to develop a set of different approaches that I know work for me. Through the daily accountability posts and weekly curriculum posts, Thrive has helped me learn to be realistic about what I can achieve in a day, or week or month. The daily feedback that Katy provides has been instrumental in this. She always offers thoughtful advice and helps guide Thrivers through those tough days (and sometimes even tough weeks or months). With Katy's help, I was able to realise that just because I didn't get everything done today, it doesn't mean that I didn't get anything done today. Eventually I realised that the way to progress is to keep showing up and, for me, Thrive is a place where I am supported to keep showing up.