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Does anybody here have a PhD??
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Safire
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Mon Feb 19, 2007 4:42 am      Reply with quote
I'm currently doing postgrad research in a medical/pharmacy related area & I am thinking of continuing on to do a PhD. Even though I know it will take years & years of hard work, dedication & probably lots of stress too! Doubt But I'm hoping it's worth it!

So does anyone else here have a PhD, or working towards one? In what area/profession(if I may ask Wink )??

Smile
Mabsy
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Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:16 am      Reply with quote
On a serious note, I think it is worth it if it is matched to what you want to do afterwards. Many people find the motivation lacking after a while when they do a PhD just because they want the degree. It is lots of hard work, and lots of stress at times, but also very rewarding. A supervisor will have a big impact on how enjoyable your PhD is - so be sure to pick someone that you already know and do get along with, otherwise it's just unnecessary stress.

On a lighter note, you have potential to have lots of fun, make new friends, travel to conferences, have flexible hours, and - depending on your topic - a fair bit of contact with industry which then makes finding a job easier.

Have a look here also for some support and info:

http://www.essentialdayspa.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=4407
http://www.essentialdayspa.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=2843

HTH and Good Luck!

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catski
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Mon Feb 19, 2007 7:08 am      Reply with quote
I gave mine up. Sad

I was teaching undergrads and running my own place independantly and having a *busy* love life, as the years went by I lost sight entirely of why I would want to finish it.

I think that may have been because it was in the field of English Lit., and after a while I realised I didnt actually want to continue to be an academic, longterm.

You need strong support from those around you, and of course a great supervisor.

I wish you all the best with it.
guapagirl
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Mon Feb 19, 2007 1:00 pm      Reply with quote
Well I submitted a PhD proposal for ESRC funding last month and made it through to the final 8. They have decided to interview so I'll be grilled in the last week of march. I don't like to think about it Sad

The area is social construction of learning difficulties and social class. It is going to be run along the lines of Rist's work on self fulfilling prophesies with a critical realist/ salutogentic perspective rather than a social model one. Apparently. Neutral

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Chrissie
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Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:55 pm      Reply with quote
I'm seriously thinking about it. My undergrad is in nursing and my grad is in Healthcare Administration. If I do it, I'll get a PhD in Public Health from UNC-CH.
Safire
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Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:51 am      Reply with quote
Thanks Mabsy & catski for your comments. Smile Also good luck to you guapagirl & Chrissie.
Mabsy
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Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:18 am      Reply with quote
Good luck with the application GG. I'm sure it will go well and I hope you find out right after the interviews and they don't leave you hanging for a while. Sounds like a more involved process than here, where only written application is required and the rest is between you and your supervisor (apart from your last defense).

Safire - I forgot to mention, there is a good book about coping with PhDs. I can't remember what it's called anymore - something along the lines of "how to get a PhD". It's really good for explaining the whole PhD process and how (generally) people feel throughout. A good read if you're thinking about PhDing, or are freshly into it.

Finally, this is for when you enroll: http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php Wink

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guapagirl
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Tue Feb 20, 2007 9:37 am      Reply with quote
Mine is involved, but only because I'm applying for a PhD studentship. I was accepted onto a phD at exeter last year, but I need funding and the research council here gives studentships worth £12-15K a year, so as you can imagine competition is fierce.

If I get it, I'll be sure to let you know!

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bkkgirl
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Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:16 am      Reply with quote
I didn't go for the PhD because someone told me I'd continually have to write articles, books, etc, even after I got the PhD. I can't imagine my life writing all the time and trying to get it published. Also after getting a PhD, it seems you're destined to be a professor. I have a weak voicebox, and I'd get a sore throat if I have to give lectures all day. So I gave up the idea of getting a PhD.
Safire
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Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:57 pm      Reply with quote
Mabsy wrote:

Safire - I forgot to mention, there is a good book about coping with PhDs. I can't remember what it's called anymore - something along the lines of "how to get a PhD". It's really good for explaining the whole PhD process and how (generally) people feel throughout. A good read if you're thinking about PhDing, or are freshly into it.

Finally, this is for when you enroll: http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php Wink


Thanks again Mabsy! Very Happy That site is great!
sharky
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Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:43 pm      Reply with quote
Mabsy: Thanks I'd seen that site years ago it is fun.

Reasons to get a PhD

1. If you want to be in academia.

2. If you want to work at a particular research Institute (e.g. Rand).

3. If you're an MD wanting to do real resaerch.

4. If you want to spend some intense time with a bunch of 20 and 30yos who are interested in the same things you are.

I loved grad school but it isn't for everybody. No matter what area you're in (even science) it involves much writing but I also found it very collegial.
angelina
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Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:58 pm      Reply with quote
While I was an undergrad, I sold my body for scientific experiments. My experiences turned me off the idea of getting a PHD for good. I swear- even at the Masters level, all the people I met looked old. They seemed to be poor too and I couldn't imagine giving away so much of my life to live in those conditions. I wanted to experience many things in life while I was still young.

Everytime I studied for a test, I got big zits, looked ugly and felt awful. I really really admire the people who got through it. To be able to excell through emotional ups and downs, no sleep and those other bad things which come with the territory is no small feat.
Wild Cat
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Tue Feb 20, 2007 6:18 pm      Reply with quote
angelina wrote:
While I was an undergrad, I sold my body for scientific experiments. My experiences turned me off the idea of getting a PHD for good. I swear- even at the Masters level, all the people I met looked old. They seemed to be poor too and I couldn't imagine giving away so much of my life to live in those conditions. I wanted to experience many things in life while I was still young.

Everytime I studied for a test, I got big zits, looked ugly and felt awful. I really really admire the people who got through it. To be able to excell through emotional ups and downs, no sleep and those other bad things which come with the territory is no small feat.


I have been trying to convince my SO that going to graduate school will mean needing more and better skincare products since I am under such stress Bad Grin Bad Grin Bad Grin

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angelina
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Tue Feb 20, 2007 6:26 pm      Reply with quote
Ha ha. I sure wished I had better skin care products when I was studying. I couldn't afford anything then. Better stock up on your B vitamins too Smile
Mabsy
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Wed Feb 21, 2007 2:20 am      Reply with quote
sharky wrote:
Mabsy: Thanks I'd seen that site years ago it is fun.

Reasons to get a PhD

1. If you want to be in academia.

2. If you want to work at a particular research Institute (e.g. Rand).



Those are two very important points. Years ago I was looking for a job in government and the PhD was definitely a disadvantage (and one place actually told me so outright). I've heard this from a number of PhD students, and from hiring companies as well. I'm sure it's not impossible to get a job outside of (1) and (2) and I see things slightly changing over the years now, but - over here at least - it's not always a plus.

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guapagirl
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Wed Feb 21, 2007 10:07 am      Reply with quote
angelina wrote:
even at the Masters level, all the people I met looked old. They seemed to be poor too and I couldn't imagine giving away so much of my life to live in those conditions.


Yep. That'll be me! Laughing

I want to do the PhD to get into more social research. I'm really not that into the academic side as such, but I love research and really believe if it's done properly it has a huge capacity for improving peoples lives.

And who said I was cynical Cool

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catski
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Wed Feb 21, 2007 10:27 am      Reply with quote
sharky wrote:
Mabsy: Thanks I'd seen that site years ago it is fun.

Reasons to get a PhD

1. If you want to be in academia.

2. If you want to work at a particular research Institute (e.g. Rand).

3. If you're an MD wanting to do real resaerch.

4. If you want to spend some intense time with a bunch of 20 and 30yos who are interested in the same things you are.

I loved grad school but it isn't for everybody. No matter what area you're in (even science) it involves much writing but I also found it very collegial.


Yes! No. 4 there, was a major plus, as a life experience. Met some fantastic friends and fellow students from other countries too.
Nijey
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Wed Feb 21, 2007 10:46 am      Reply with quote
I am currently in my first year in a PhD program (political science) and am intending to be an academic. I've had a fairly stressful year, but it's mostly due to personal issues that keep intruding on my work (which I am enjoying very much).

I think mostly, you have to go into it with your eyes wide open, knowing exactly what you intend to get out of it. Most of the people I've known who have had problems, dropped out, etc. were not as committed to an academic lifestyle, had very different ideas about what grad school would be like, or entered without having a clear idea of what they wanted to get out of it/a specific goal.

The old and poor comment above is funny Smile I am lucky enough to attend a program that is very well-funded, so I get a higher-than-average stipend (for the social sciences), which is not fabulous, of course, but comfortable. And most of the people in my cohort are in their early 20s.

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sharky
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Thu Feb 22, 2007 11:17 am      Reply with quote
Three of my current graduate students are female. We don't pay huge stipends but they are livable on a reasonable level. All three are in their 20's and look quite nice. (One just got married and a second is engaged).

I agree Mabsy that for some fields a PhD is not useful. My four reasons stand (I'm sure someone else can tell me another from a different perspective).
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Thu Feb 22, 2007 1:26 pm      Reply with quote
I started a Ph.D. in counseling psych back in '99 and I'm stuck! I have yet to start my dissertation and will have to go on a 1-year internship.

I think a lot of why I'm stuck is that I don't have much in common with or spend much time with other students or with faculty. I'm also older than the average grad student (43) and work full-time (in a related field) and making a regular paycheck with benefits is far more appealing than pulling up stakes to survive on a $10,000/year internship!

If you do go for an advanced degree, make sure you are in a place where you have constant contact with & support from peers and professors. And, just plow through it ... don't get distracted by "real life" going on around you.

Good luck to all you aspiring (and current) scholars!
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Thu Feb 22, 2007 2:49 pm      Reply with quote
Kittikin: You make a good point. You should always ask what the average time to PhD is where you are at. It does depend on how much support is given and varies widely. Talking to other PhD students away from the school is a good way to find out who good and bad advisors are and what the atmosphere in a given program is. It varies widely.
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