Incidentally, there's a lady in my department doing her PhD at 71! I guess that's not about career prospects, but it's a joy to see someone undertaking it purely for the love of it. And every time I see her, she's always so happy! So it's never too late.
there's a guy here doing a PhD in his 60s too.
Personally I'm glad I took some time between UG and PhD (started last oct at 26) I see lots of posts about how skint people are and i'm glad i managed to work/clear off my over draft/ save some money before I started. Also it has helped my confidence and helped me decide what i wanted to do. I guess the negatives are it's harder to go back after some time off studying.
I was 21 when I started mine... hoped to have finished by the time I was 24... sadly I'll be 26 when I graduate (in 2 weeks)...
Amusingly I still get people calling me 'fake' as apparantly 'you can't get a PhD at your age ' and 'You can't go straight from a BSc to a PhD' ..
I started when I was 22. I'll be 25 when I finish (hopefully). It drives me crazy hearing that I'm too young. Both of my parents were mature Bachelor and Masters students (in their 30s and 40s with two children) and it looked uber hard (I was old enough to notice but not old enough to look after myself) and I was advised by both of them to do the formal education when I was young. So I did.
Therefore, I am a traditional age student. Why do I get slated for going through formal education at the age at which it was intended! I would never in my life have a go at somebody who was taking on the challange of education later in life! Education is for all!!!
p.s - I look about 15. I'm not looking forward to defending myself when I teach...
i started my phd when i was 22. i went from bsc, to msc , straight into phd. retrospect, i had no idea how hard it was going to be. and wasnt really mature enough to realise the difficulty of a phd. i wanted to quit after my first year, but was too scared to. now i'm 30! i feel like i've just studied all my life...but it's not been all bad, i suppose. i must be the only phd student thats taken 8 years how sad!
planning on submitting this sept though if my supervisor lets me.
I once read that for science academics a PhD is a mere technicality/start of the journey to bigger and better research, while for non-science academics a PhD is often the pinacle of one's research work (I was trying to find the source for this - I think it was in a PhD research book).
While this is a big generalisation, it does explain why many science PhDs get their PhDs over and done with much earlier, while with non-science academics the PhD becomes a massive labour of love that they hope will be published by OUP or the like.
I think that to some extent the UK is far more age-ist in its attitudes than the US. Its no big deal in the US, hardly draws a comment to be a mature post grad student starting in your 30s or 40s. Its a typical mid-career move. You are not seen as "old" or "getting on a bit", its seen as part of a logical progression you can follow if you want. It raises no eyebrows.
The UK seems to regard over 40 as with one foot in the grave.
In the US, its still seen as an age/decade/life span period where you are developing, growing, contributing, maturing, etc. Its no big deal for women to have children into their 40's, and my friends and family that have done so uniformly have healthy, vibrant children and are healthy, vibrant moms.
I bring something different to my PhD work than someone in their 20s. I am not knocking doing a PhD young--nor saying you should wait until you are in mid-career to go to do it. There are pluses and minues at each stage of the game. For me, the things I am studying did not even exist when I was 25. A long career working with these issues and watching them develop over time brings a certain already developed depth of knowledge, life experience, views, and a sense of how these issues are played out in the "real world." Its important to me that my PhD work has a value and application to the real world it tries to address. That is just my own view of my own research--one of my strong motivators--which will not be shared by all doing PhD work, and does not make one kind of research better than another.
I think a preoccupation on age is reflective of the unhealthy societal messages that the UK continues to give off about age. I never gave my age a second thought in pursuing the PhD until I had an extended time in the UK, and my age was made a focus in ways I found offensive and ridiculous.
Oliva you have a great attitude (you're obviously not British). Indeedy, the UK has a terrible attitude to age.
I'm 30, and I already feel too old to start a corporate career (after spending my 20s in academia). I've actually been told by recruiters I'll have problems getting a job and will have to justify my age (all on the QT because of the Age Discrimination Act). I almost feel like I've aged myself out of the market - and yet, in the US and Canada I've notice age doesn't really matter. I really admire the fact people start law school in their 30s, 40s or 50s - that doesn't really happen here.
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