What scares you (if anything) about embarking upon a PhD?

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username5198700
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Hi,

To anyone considering PhD study, what scares you the most about sitting in front of a computer most evenings (and weekends) staring at a screen, witnessing your relationships disintegrate in front of your eyes due to the lack of input on your part, having constant financial difficulties, continual workload related stress and no guarantee of employment upon completion, all to have the opportunity to procure a lecturing position at an establishment that is regularly discussing culling courses and staff in order to save money?

Cheers!
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EierVonSatan
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That's a very negative view on it frankly, are you considering a PhD?
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gjd800
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Literally none of that bothered me except the precarious job situation (and, after, its immediate exacerbation thanks to the pandemic)
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Legomenon
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Considering it would be in maths, by far the thing that scares me most is how hard it would be to produce anything original or of any value to the research community...
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which is why I'm absolutely not going to do one!
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Bongo Bongo
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How to best manage my time and be able to efficiently conduct the empirical side of things.
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username5198700
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(Original post by EierVonSatan)
That's a very negative view on it frankly, are you considering a PhD?
This is a collection of responses from PhD students that I've interviewed. Do you have a PhD or studying for one?
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(Original post by Melmoth C3-3)
sitting in front of a computer most evenings (and weekends) staring at a screen, witnessing your relationships disintegrate in front of your eyes due to the lack of input on your part
I didn't wait for my PhD to start for that haha.

I'm pretty terrified of failure, to the point that it is harming my ability to prepare (I start later this year). Employment also concerns me.
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EierVonSatan
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(Original post by Melmoth C3-3)
This is a collection of responses from PhD students that I've interviewed. Do you have a PhD or studying for one?
I have one. While I can certainly recognise most of those elements, they are not a continuous or exclusive feature of PhD study :nah:

There are positives too it's important that you know what you're getting yourself into in both advantages and disadvantages :yes:
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gjd800
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(Original post by EierVonSatan)
I have one. While I can certainly recognise most of those elements, they are not a continuous or exlusive feature of PhD study :nah:

There are positives too it's important that you know what you're getting yourself into in both advantages and disadvantages :yes:
Exactly

It strikes me that a lot of people go into PhDs with their eyes closed and with little idea how to adapt when things don't go exactly how they dreamt. I think that this is partly the fault of departments who basically never sell a realistic vision of the doctoral and postdoctoral landscape
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PhoenixFortune
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The main thing for me was missing out on things I could be doing career-wise in exchange for the full-time 3 years a PhD will take. I guess I've come to terms with that now though, as I'm just over halfway through Year 1.
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username5198700
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(Original post by EierVonSatan)
I have one. While I can certainly recognise most of those elements, they are not a continuous or exclusive feature of PhD study :nah:

There are positives too it's important that you know what you're getting yourself into in both advantages and disadvantages :yes:
So you recognise most of these elements but still decided to label me describing them as being negative! When I interviewed these PhD students do you think that I should have labelled their comments as negative?
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username5198700
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(Original post by gjd800)
Exactly

It strikes me that a lot of people go into PhDs with their eyes closed and with little idea how to adapt when things don't go exactly how they dreamt. I think that this is partly the fault of departments who basically never sell a realistic vision of the doctoral and postdoctoral landscape
This is a really good point.
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username5198700
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(Original post by Bongo Bongo)
How to best manage my time and be able to efficiently conduct the empirical side of things.
How did you best manage your time?
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gjd800
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(Original post by Melmoth C3-3)
So you recognise most of these elements but still decided to label me describing them as being negative! When I interviewed these PhD students do you think that I should have labelled their comments as negative?
(Original post by Melmoth C3-3)
This is a really good point.
I think it is negative, but that doesn't mean they don't have a basis in fact. The anxiety around that sort of thing is 'negative' and I think it can be managed if you go in with some sense of perspective and not having hedged your bets too much. I don't think there is anything radically different re my abilities etc than those of any of my cohort, but I worried less and had more 'me time' than any of them - it is a mindset thing, and I reckon departments could do more to both educate (ironic) and encourage their doctoral researchers to change their mindset, not to neglect their friends, wives, dogs etc, to keep weekends relatively free.
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EierVonSatan
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(Original post by Melmoth C3-3)
So you recognise most of these elements but still decided to label me describing them as being negative! When I interviewed these PhD students do you think that I should have labelled their comments as negative?
I didn't describe you as negative, I said that was a very negative viewpoint (I fail to see how it could be considered otherwise).

The reason I asked you if you were considering a PhD as I was concerned that this might not be a good idea for you if you see it in such a light, even before you begin. Now I know that you got this from current students, I simply hope that those negative aspects are not all that you think of it.
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MalcolmX
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i thought about a PhD in CS but the probability of getting a tenured lectureship position is incredibly low.
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Helloworld_95
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(Original post by Melmoth C3-3)
Hi,

To anyone considering PhD study, what scares you the most about sitting in front of a computer most evenings (and weekends) staring at a screen,
This is most jobs, at best you'll have a few more meetings. You shouldn't be working too much on weekends unless that's self-motivated. I maybe put in an hour of work each day on weekends but that's because it makes sense for my work and I work less hours during the week, and many academics don't work full days on Fridays.

witnessing your relationships disintegrate in front of your eyes due to the lack of input on your part,
Honestly, having a girlfriend has been worse for this than the PhD. Your relationships really shouldn't be hurt because of doing a PhD, and there's no reason why they should unless you have a tyrannical supervisor.

having constant financial difficulties,
The only people I know who had financial difficulties during their PhD were those who lived in London and those who were trying to keep up with their friends who went into jobs instead. If you don't have a car or don't eat out everyday then you'll do more than fine, many people save money during their PhD.

continual workload related stress and no guarantee of employment upon completion,
Again, the stress of a PhD is really up to you. If you get stressed from troubleshooting then you either shouldn't be doing a PhD or should learn how to keep calm. Employment is a pretty valid concern.

all to have the opportunity to procure a lecturing position at an establishment that is regularly discussing culling courses and staff in order to save money?
Very few PhD students will end up going into lecturing positions, many will go into academic research and many leave academia by choice. There are a substantial number of industrial positions which look for PhDs nowadays and many will choose these instead.
Last edited by Helloworld_95; 2 weeks ago
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Bongo Bongo
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(Original post by username5198700)
How did you best manage your time?
I haven't started my phd yet but if I do in September I will have to make a plan of how to and when to do each part of the study and make sure each section is done thoroughly and an adequate amount of time has been spent on each part. A three year project is a lot longer than any research I've conducted so far.
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