My PhD Story Part 1

From the very start of the dr.ofwhat blog, I have envisioned writing this particularly post. The story of my PhD. I started my PhD in 2016, I was a 22 year old starry-eyed, passionate student. I have always been innately curious, and my desire to find out stuff is what led me to starting my PhD. I was incredibly excited and felt honoured to be paid (I was scholarship funded) to research an area that I was genuinely interested in. I didn’t really have a clear idea about what I wanted to do long term, but academia was the front runner. I was also excited to have that Dr. title (as superficial as that sounds). Aside from all the positive things that I felt about starting my PhD, imposter syndrome was also very high. It did not take me long to identify how much of a steep learning curve this experience was going to be, academically, professionally, and personally. 


I was also lucky enough to be starting my PhD with two fellow students who I had grown close to in honours year and I met a fellow conservation psychology researcher in the office. These three girls quickly became an integral part of my life and to date they are still some of my most favourite people. The first year of the PhD was actually a bit of a drag. I started the year so excited and passionate and ready to dive head first into the pool of PhDness. However, you have to write a proposal, and in stark contrast to everything else during the PhD process, you are given ample amounts of time to write the plan for your research. 


The proposal was completed and the conferral meeting was a success. I was officially a PhD candidate. I then started on my first research study, a media analysis of Facebook posts and comments… of >2000 Facebook posts and >40,000 Facebook comments I might add. Thinking back now, I can’t believe that I hand collected and analysed this amount of data. It took a really long time, but thankfully turned into a published paper and potentially my favourite study of my PhD. The plan for my final study was to collect infield data from tourists who were cage diving with sharks. Therefore, while I was analysing all of the Facebook data I was also trying to plan this by connecting with people in the tourism industry. 


It was then my second year and despite the sheer amount of data I was analysing for study 1, I felt on top of everything. I had started tutoring and marking which I loved. Dr.ofwhat, my little passion project, was such a great creative outlet. I was really enjoying my PhD.


To be continued…



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