When I was first admitted to my PhD program, a good friend of mine - who had completed her dissertation a few years before - gave me one of the best pieces of advice: "find yourself a friend". Which is not to say I didn't have any friends at the time (!), but she meant that I should find at least one kindred spirit to share in the process, to read each other's drafts, to support each other when it hit the fan, and to keep each other company in an exercise that can become quite lonely at times.
I was lucky enough to find such friends each step of the way, and for that I am thankful. I have also discovered that it is possible to share in the doctoral process not only on terra firma, with students from my program, but also in online fora. This is a new experience for me, and the exchanges I have had with others in the same situation as mine have brought me much comfort and have encouraged me to advance my project. Also, simply writing about the challenges I am faced with and putting them out there in the universe, in a way, helps quite a lot.
So, “hear hear” to finding a friend… and to being one in return!