This short post is by Dr Danya Hodgetts, sport manager, lecturer and researcher and reflects on an issue which eventually will afflict us all… We’ve all been there. Go on, admit it. You’re working away solidly on your PhD and then starting to daydream… about being a doctor. About how life-changing those two little letters […]
Wal Reinhardt is a second year doctoral scholar at The Australian National University, Canberra. In this guest post he takes a moment to share his office’s quest for a gong (literally). I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did.
Where I attempt to answer a difficult question: what is theory and how can you include ‘more’ in your thesis?
I’ve occassionally written about parenting through a PhD and some of the perils of PhD parenting. Since the average age of those studying for a PhD is 37 most of you will have some kind of family commitment, and yes – pets count. I find it mystifying that so many of the ‘how to get a PhD’ books offer precious little advice on how to cope.
Like all of you I’m sure, I receive an almost constant stream of invitations to academic events and conferences by email.I rely on mailing lists to keep me informed about what is happening, but lately I have started to get irritated about how difficult event organisers make it for me to share information. I have even started replying with ideas for how they might improve their communications strategy. These replies were, of course, politely worded suggestions.
This is the sarcastic letter I wrote in my head.
The Valley of Shit is that period of your PhD, however brief, when you lose perspective and therefore confidence and belief in yourself…
A perverse pastime of mine is to Google the well known and creatively successful who have made it to a PhD – and dropped out, only to find fame elsewhere. Californication’s David Duchovny (the title of his uncompleted doctoral thesis – Magic and Technology in Contemporary Poetry and Prose); The Offspring’s Bryan “Dexter” Holland (Molecular Biology)…
That first couple of weeks of study can be confusing. Without the structure of an undergraduate course and other classmates to guide you, simple things like finding the closest bathroom to your office can be challenging. Or you may find you don’t actually have an office at all! Roaming the halls and haunting the library with your book bag and a laptop is hardly conducive to settling in well.
“…It was at this point Dave would ask me what was wrong. You know what my reply was to someone who has finished a PhD and now has students of his own? The ever classic, “You wouldn’t understand.” Stupid or what? If anyone was going to understand my private hell, Dave was…”
In Australian culture we are uncomfortable talking about money. In the absence of a frank discussion, there continues to be a view that it is a rite of passage to starve in your garret while you do your PhD, which I think is an entirely wrongheaded way to treat some of your nation’s smartest people (are you listening Julia Gillard?). International students are particularly hard up; I honestly don’t know how they do it.