Thursday, 19 February 2015

What being a PhD student means to me

I was asked by a friend what being a PhD means and why it's special. Being a PhD student to me means a lot of reading and writing. The first challenge is always finding the right research topic or area of research. It takes reading a lot of what has been done, sometimes from as far back as 10 years ago, to figure out what you can do. A PhD research topic is meant to be something new and unique. Trust me, it's hard to come by. Being a PhD student to me means giving up a lot of things I love doing in order to have time for my research. Though I just started (first year, second term), I've given up a lot. I watch TV less often now, I spend less time with family and friends, all I think about is my research. It has affected my marriage and my relationship with my son. I keep asking myself if it's really worth it.

To keep my sanity, I try to make friends when I can especially online. With online friends, I don't have to make time to hang out, have coffee or see a movie. I just spend time online chatting while I read or do other work stuff. I also try to remember to take a break as often as possible. I try to go to the movies once a month (I wish I could go more often), I try to read non academic stuff weekly, and of course there is this blog. It helps me pour out my thoughts honestly without fear of being judged.

This is it for now. I will be back to write about why I think having a PhD is special (is it?), but for now I think it's time to head to bed. 4:44am. Wow!

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