[The Proposition] ‘For a successful PhD trajectory, emotion management is needed more than intelligence’

PhD candidates explain their most thought-provoking proposition. This time Hanan Tadele Dessalegn.
De Stelling Emotiemanagement EN

For PhD candidates, their theses propositions are an opportunity to publicly express their professional and personal convictions about science and society. In this feature, they explain their most thought-provoking proposition. This time, a proposition from Hanan Tadele Dessalegn, who received her PhD on 21 February for research in Water Resources Management.

‘Of course intelligence and technical expertise are important to succeed in the PhD programme, but I think emotion management is a crucial factor. A PhD is a long and demanding process that requires persistence, resilience and the ability to manage setbacks. As PhD candidates we often encounter unexpected challenges, like experiments which do not go as planned, data analysis difficulties or rejection from academic journals. Emotion management is essential to succeed in the PhD, and stay motivated and focused on our own research goals.

Moreover as a PhD candidate we need to communicate with peers, supervisors and stakeholders in a clear and concise manner. The ability to understand and manage our own emotions as well as the emotions of others is important in effective communication and interpersonal relationships. Emotional intelligence is essential for building positive relationships and addressing conflicts that may arise during the process.

I am a mother of two; both of my kids were born during the PhD process. As a scholarship PhD you don’t get childcare subsidy so I had to take on another job. My PhD of 36 hours, 28 hours extra work and taking care of the house and the kids was really too much. I’m glad I managed to do it. I’m happy my husband is supportive; it wouldn’t have been possible without him.

I have the kind of mentality that says I shouldn’t give up, even though it is stressful and hard. The example I’m setting for my kids is really important. That was my inspiration. I had to finish and show them that even though things are challenging, it can be done.’

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