Baby steps

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?

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5 thoughts on “Baby steps

  1. Hmm I shall follow! I am (obviously) a huge fan of this topic. Of particular interest to me right now is the role of technology in facilitating/promoting/providing help-seeking. The role of perceived stigma from others vs. self-stigma in preventing help-seeking and how technology can shift this and also the degree to which potential supports need to be general vs. specific. Haha…just my personal area of interest right now coming out of my research but will look forward to hearing more about the journey as you explore yours 😉

  2. Meke!!! I was so excited at receiving a comment that I almost feel off my chair!! Thank you for sharing your interests and thoughts. I think stigma is a still a massive issue and it makes me angry that there seems to be a perception from some people that due to the recognition (and great work) done by beyondblue and other organisations, that stigma is no longer a significant issue. Wrong!!

  3. haha glad to have commented then! I definitely think its an issue…until I did some reading I never really stopped to think about the differences between stigma associated with how we imagine others might perceive us vs. our own internalised stigma or how we perceive ourselves. It helped me to make sense of some of the issues around the ongoing limitations of anonymous services in a culture where stigma associated with these issues MH issues remains high. Here is another interesting one…why is it that mental health literacy is increasing in Australian YP however, rates of professional help-seeking remain low (and stable over time)? Hmmm so many possibilities 😉

  4. Very excited to see such a brilliant mind (you) chasing a PhD!! I will definitely follow and look forward to hearing how things progress!!

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