Questions first year PhD me would ask current me, and what my answers would be.
How long is this PhD going to take?
How long is a piece of string? If we are talking specifically about my PhD, then it took 4 years. However, every PhD journey is unique.
I am on track with my timelines, why does it take people so long to finish?
It is odd, because even when I reflect on the PhD journey, I wonder how it can take so long. I think it is because there are so many projects going at once, and there is so much waiting. Waiting on drafts, waiting on ethics etc. Also we are students so we spend a lot of time giving things a go and seeing how they work out. A lot of time changing our approach, pracising, learning.
Is getting the Dr. Title worth it?
This is a really interesting question. Now that I have the Dr. title I honestly don’t think that much about it. However, getting the PhD was worth it and ticking the dr. box on forms is a nice bonus.
Should I drop out?
Oh gosh, I think about this often. I think about how different everything would be if I dropped out in first year. No you shouldn’t, BUT I would not judge you if you did.
How scary is the verbal defense (VIVA)?
The lead up to it is terrifying. I was S$%ting it. The actual experience was enjoyable, getting to talk about the research with academics genuinely interested in it!
What is the best part of finishing the PhD?
The weight being lifted from your shoulders. The pride you feel. The free time you gain.
Would you do it again?
Ah, this is a really tricky question also. I am not sure to be honest. I am so proud of finishing the PhD, and I am incredibly happy with the job that I have now. But, it adversely impacted my mind, body, soul. So honestly I am not sure.
What would you do differently throughout the PhD?
Not a lot actually. I said yes to so many fantastic opportunities which has helped land me my current role. I was organized and diligent and productive. Perhaps I would have enjoyed the flexibility of the PhD more, although I think I still did take advantage of it.
What is something surprising that came from your PhD?
The lifelong friendships that I developed with such incredible people and the opportunity and courage to start this blog.