Cutest image in the world from Golly Molly
I'm reluctant to make this blog all about doing PhDs, because that's not what it's supposed to be about, and I already alienate enough people socially with the "P-word" - I don't need to do it more online!
But I had a lot of feedback about my last post on doing a PhD, and thought I'd share a few thoughts on what prompted me to make the decision in the first place, and some of the reactions I received.
Deciding to do a PhD seemed quite an unremarkable thing to me at the time. I love studying English, I had a good idea of what I wanted to study, and the opportunity to work with a great supervisor. But for what I thought was an uncontroversial decision, I received a surprising amount of backlash from some people. (Not, of course, from my close friends.) A few of the common reactions were, "Why would you want to spend another four years at uni?", "You're too young/old to do a PhD", (I'm only 25 now!) and "Why don't you get a proper job first?" I was blown away! I wondered why so many people felt qualified to judge my decision so openly, but it seems like you just need to get used to varied reactions. Even now, a few months away from completion, I try not to say 'PhD' when I meet new people - it just elicits a lot of hostility.
So none of that should be taken as a reason not to pursue a doctorate - more just like a friendly heads-up that people can get weird about it...
But these are some things that might help you feel good about your decisions. You might want to do a PhD because:
-you have a really great idea and feel passionate about researching and writing it.
-you see a PhD as a positive next step in your career and are excited about the thought of publishing.
-you want to get into academia.
-you want a period in your life where you can think, read and write with as much freedom as possible.
-you are organised and goal-oriented. Self-motivation really helps here - you're on your own a lot.
Since beginning my candidature, I have decided (at this stage) not to go into academia. Do I regret my thesis? Not at all. It has taught me so many invaluable things which I couldn't have imagined before - and not just about my topic area. It has been an incredible experience to have to think so hard. Of course it's difficult at times, but getting through those patches has made the results even sweeter.
OK, that's enough for one post. I'd love to keep hearing your feedback - anything I should cover next?