Just what the world has been waiting for – another blog from a phd student. Actually I’m not even that! I’ve been thinking about doing a PhD for years, but it is only now that I’ve decided to get serious and start the ball rolling in actually investigating my feasibility, suitability and interest in potentially doing one. I figure it’s a big committment so my gun-shy approach probably isn’t such a bad thing.
Given I kinda love writing (and hell, there just won’t be enough writing in front of me, right??!), I’m starting this blog as a way to share my progress, reflect on my topic and overall journey, and (hopefully) get some discussion happening from anyone who might happen to read it!
As a first step I’ve talked to a number of people who are currently completing their PhD or have recently completed it. This has been a really helpful way in getting a better sense of the challenges and rewards of doing a PhD. The good news is, having worked in the mental health sector for over 10 years, I have a good sense of the general topic area I would like to explore – young people, wellbing and technology. The bad news is that I’ve been finding it hard to pin down a more specific topic! (a bit of a roadblock really…). There are a HUGE range of interesting research areas: online community, video gaming, social media, and mobile phone – just to name a few.
Talking to a few academics has been another really helpful, though must admit that one advising me to ‘choose a topic wisely as it’s your one and only opportunity to be an expert in a field, at least for a brief period’ was rather daunting. She also intimated that once you’ve chosen a specific topic the dye is cast and this will determine your work following the PhD. Eeek!
Some other pieces of advice (all somehow quite ominous!):
- ‘Don’t do it’
- ‘Be assertive with your supervisor’
- ‘Ensure you can tie it in with your work’
- ‘Try and do at least the first few year or so full-time’
- ‘A PhD by publication is preferable to a traditional PhD’
What advice would you give? Or have you heard?