I'm just wondering if anyone else feels the same? I'm begining to realize that if you are to do well you must be 100% consumed by your research. You can't just sort of know what you are doing, you have to really be on the top of it. Have I known that things would be this hard, I probably wouldn't have started it in the first place. But now with having invested so much time into it, it's difficult to quit too.
someone I talked to recently told me that they had been speaking to a professor who still reflects on his PhD as the hardest thing he has ever done. Which is actually a good point, not just that PhDs are hard, but that life gets easier.
PhDs are the kind of stress you will probably not encounter at any other point in your life
You are already 1 year in, try hang in for the next 2 and you've got the rest of your life ahead of you to reflect on how much it sucked
I completely agree that a PhD is very hard, and you have to be really dedicated, but surely an academic career (or a good job in industry for that matter) is just as, if not more difficult? Grant proposals, paper writing, book publishing, teaching workload, hundreds of department committee meetings...
Maybe I'm just trying to psych myself up that it won't all be plain sailing once I submit!
Different kind of stresses I think - not from experience though
In academia you'll still have to deal with presentations and publishing, but unlike PhD you will be able to get away from it, you'll be given holidays that you can actually take and you'll be able to take days off without feeling guilty.
When you want to go for a new job you don't have a horrendous 6-12 months unpaid write up followed by interrogation of your work either. You just quit and start the new job.
you'll be treated as a colleague not as a student etc etc
There will be stresses I'm sure but of a different nature
This is one of the hardest things I've ever done but it's not the hardest and it's definitely not the most stressful. Not that it isn't hard and stressful - just that there are, I'm afraid, for many of us, going to be a number of very tough and stressful times in life.
I don't think you have to be 100% consumed all the time - but you probably do need to be like that some of the time. But you have to be careful not to burn out. When I was getting stressed about this an older academic advised me that it isn't nessecary to be brilliant every day - most of the time, good enough is just fine (I'd say the same about parenting too!).
I guess the other thing is that I have always performed very well academically. I have put about 20% of the effort in both ubdergrad and masters degree with great results - while I have seen lots of students stress over exams etc. Because that's been a breeze, I thought why not do the PhD. Well, here 20% of effort is not going to cut it. Not even close.
I sometimes wonder how much of the PhD angst people suffer is related to their passage through life to adulthood. Many people starting PhDs have moved into them straight from undergraduate degrees, and have not had the experience of managing on their own in a fulltime job, independent of parental financial support, etc. The PhD then is the first experience of being tossed out of the nest, and the struggles to self motivate, to establish new boundaries in new relationships with supervisors and PhD student peers is all part of that bigger passage of life.
The PhD is just the time/space where it is happening, but the same passage might occur for the first time in a new job out of uni or leaving home and not attending uni. The first time you look over the edge (of life) and realise you are on your own it can be daunting--terrifying even. You are more or less dependent on YOURSELF to a large degree--! in every sense of the word dependent ( emotionally, financially, etc).
I am glad I am doing the PhD as a mature student. I think it would have been a much different experience had I done it years ago. ( for one thing the legal instruments I am studying would not have existed! ) but that aside, having experienced the working world, marriage, divorce, failed pregnancy, the sudden widowhood of a friend, all the ups and downs that life brings with it, brings a different perspective to the PhD process. Its hard. Its manageable.
Same here. I dropped out of a PhD in my early 20s and it is very different this time. I've done some very challenging jobs since then - especially some overseas posts where I was really left to my own devices and depended on my own initiative and drive to get anything done. That was a great prep for a PhD.
And other life dramas are so much more stressful - they don't really compare. My husband was very ill for a long time and almost died. I nursed both parents with terminal cancer. I've done 5 IVFs and lost my first pregnancy. I mention these to help get some perspective. I used to have a favourite saying: out of the gloom a voice said untoi me - smile and be happy for things could be worse. So I smiled and was happy - and behold - things did get worse
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