Life of a PhD student three months in.
by Dr Anthony D. Cliffe
So i’ve been a PhD student for three months now, so i thought i’d do a fun little blog about the trials and tribulations of gaining the hardest known academic qualification. Dr Awesome!
- So you’ve done your undergraduate degree, probably gone and got your Masters degree, maybe even worked as a research assistant for a few years. By this point its pretty clear you’re never leaving the education system so hey. Three year PhD, why not?
- Even better when for the first time in your academic career people are paying you to be a student! Not only that, you’re now tax exempt on that money for three years! It’s basically a 22 grand job!
- So you’re a student but you’re also staff. You’re a PhD researcher which means you get to use the staff room, have your own office and generally feel really cool walking around campus.
- You have these big and bold ideas and you can’t wait to start! You’re the best in your field, you’ve made it through the gruelling application process. You can do it! Your research idea is going to change the world.
- But your supervisory team are like…
- You either get on great with your supervisor who will do absolutely anything to support you and build you up to be the best Dr ever. (luckily like mine!)
Or you can despise them or more likely they despise you, you’re an inconvenience and an embarrassment to the research empire
- So you start reading every journal, book, piece of information ever created in your chosen field. Your supervisors are telling you to look up theories, research paradigms, people keep saying big words and random french dudes names and you just sit there like
- So you write a first draft of your lit review and your supervisor tries to be supportive
and you’re holding back tears as everything you’ve done gets ripped apart
- But you realise you’re not alone, the other people in your lab/office have started the same time as you. You’re all in the same boat and through your mutual anguish of the PhD you all become friends and instantly feel like a PhD family.
- You help each other out, keep each other motivated and before you know it, you’ve formed your own supergroup which will last for three years
- More than likely your research idea will have to pass a boards approval before you can start. No one tells you how to fill the form out so you rely on other peoples information.
- So you submit your forms and after a stupidly long time, they reject it outright. Not because its bad, it’s just they love to fuck with you and keep you in your place.
- You make some changes which take far more time than they should and you get rejected again, expect this time their pointers are extremely vague which makes you question if they have actually read your report…Because it’s cool if you haven’t, i mean you didn’t just spend two weeks in a caffeine induced comma to write it or anything, no biggie.
- By this time, you and your PhD office friends are so over this form. By this point you gather around to help each other. You can do this! We will do this! But we won’t let anyone else see how much its killing us.
You try to vent to your friends and family outside of the PhD life but they don’t understand as much as they try to.
- So at this point you’ve done some work but you haven’t actually been approved for study yet because a committee of unknown evil people keep writing vague comments on your research report. No one in your office has passed yet. You’re all at the point of mental exhaustion and a lack of motivation.
- You check your emails and it comes back again…
- This is it. THE LAST TIME YOU A-HOLES|
- IT’S FINALLY PASSED AND APPROVED. A committee has approved your study, your methods and basically you’re finally a PhD student.
And the rest of your office are pretty much approved too!
- So now you can get on with sciencing the shit out of your research and take small steps on the way to becoming a Dr.
- Then you realise its another three years of this. Better buckle up.
but you can do it! We can do it! As a PhD student, you wouldn’t have it any other way.