why is doing a PhD so hard in your twenties?

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Anonymous #1
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It is something I am currently struggling with as a postgraduate in this age cohort.
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Hoc est Bellum
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(Original post by Anonymous)
It is something I am currently struggling with as a postgraduate in this age cohort.
I haven't done postgraduate yet myself but I would imagine it is easier when you are younger. This is before you have a family and are financially able to live on a small stipend.
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xxx0xxxo
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I’ve heard that certain cognitive skills especially useful academia improve over time and with experience. Like reading capacity, vocabulary and understanding complex texts.
That’s why this career way has good prospects for older people and late retirement. Unlike many other industries.
Hoping this is true!
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medicphd
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I haven't seen a difference in how people in different age groups find it. Most people who do a PhD are in their twenties anyway. People with more experience find it easier, but that makes sense.
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Anonymous #1
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Age is an interesting variable in terms of PhD experiences I think. Interesting point made about improving cognitive skills over time!
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Anonymous)
It is something I am currently struggling with as a postgraduate in this age cohort.
I think a doctorate is difficult at any age, really. At least in your twenties you've still got a lot of energy and (hopefully) enthusiasm. Also, most people in their early twenties nowadays have got fewer of the accoutrements of proper 'grown-up life' to deal with: spouses, kids, mortgages, houses to look after - all the things that get in the way of what you actually want to spend your life doing. Personally, I'd rather do a Ph.D in my mid-twenties than my mid-thirties or later.
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P0OR
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(Original post by Anonymous)
It is something I am currently struggling with as a postgraduate in this age cohort.
It is expensive, you need a lot of money to afford
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medicphd
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(Original post by P0OR)
It is expensive, you need a lot of money to afford
Not necessarily. Most STEM PhDs are funded, it's pretty rare to find someone who is self-funding. With that comes a stipend, which is usually just enough to live off (if you don't have any dependents). In terms of expenses it's likely that it'd actually be harder for people in their 30s seeing as at that age more people will have kids.
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Anonymous #1
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Yeah these are all very valid points!
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P0OR
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(Original post by medicphd)
Not necessarily. Most STEM PhDs are funded, it's pretty rare to find someone who is self-funding. With that comes a stipend, which is usually just enough to live off (if you don't have any dependents). In terms of expenses it's likely that it'd actually be harder for people in their 30s seeing as at that age more people will have kids.
A lot of people pay for their Masters and PhDs and I know my uncle paid for his PhD in Maths
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medicphd
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(Original post by P0OR)
A lot of people pay for their Masters and PhDs and I know my uncle paid for his PhD in Maths
Yeah for their masters, but it's incredibly uncommon for people to self-fund STEM PhDs. I've been a PhD student for nearly 3 years now and I've never met someone who's self-funding. Maybe in the humanities it's more common because there's less funding, but for STEM it's incredibly rare.
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P0OR
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(Original post by medicphd)
Yeah for their masters, but it's incredibly uncommon for people to self-fund STEM PhDs. I've been a PhD student for nearly 3 years now and I've never met someone who's self-funding. Maybe in the humanities it's more common because there's less funding, but for STEM it's incredibly rare.
There's plenty of students who pay themselves but maybe a lot are funded
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Reality Check
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(Original post by medicphd)
Yeah for their masters, but it's incredibly uncommon for people to self-fund STEM PhDs. I've been a PhD student for nearly 3 years now and I've never met someone who's self-funding. Maybe in the humanities it's more common because there's less funding, but for STEM it's incredibly rare.
Agreed - I've never heard of a self-funder in the sciences, and nearly all projects have got funding attached anyway (or at least that's what I thought). The only reason to self-fund would probably be that you didn't meet the academic requirements that the funding body sets (I'm sure for instance that the BBSRC used to stipulate a II(1) minimum in your undergrad).
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Anonymous #1
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Interesting. I'm in the humanities rather than stem.
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Anonymous #1
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Although, I think as pointed out above it is really difficult at any age!
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