It’s Shivalee here with the first blog on PhD as promised. Are you a master student, or someone who is planning to pursue a PhD? Are you constantly checking open PhD positions, writing random emails to professors around the globe? I can totally relate to your anxiety because I was in the same situation five years back.
But WHY to do a PhD?
Lately this is the most legitimate question asked to me. Most of the PhD students (including me) state PhD as a sleepless journey where your pockets will be empty half the time. And let’s avoid mentioning stress and imposter syndrome. Then WHY are you so passionate about having a PhD?
Since I was a kid, I have been amused hearing stories about my grandfather, a highly intellectual and charismatic person. He was a PhD in animal husbandry from University of Pennsylvania, USA and later he served as a dean at various agriculture universities in India. Once I came across a photograph of him sitting in front of a microscope in a white lab coat. 10-year-old me thought he was a doctor, but later my dad told me he was a scientist. I recalled this incident when my curiosity peaked high as I started my journey as a biotechnologist. I remember referring to my grandfather’s books and the feeling of connectivity made me sustain the journey. So, this is how my WHY paved my path to pursue a PhD.
Apart from the personal reasons, there were several good and bad reasons to walk on this path. Let’s first summarize the bad reasons for WHY you want to do a PhD:
- Having good grades
Most of the students are with a misconception that having good grades is the foremost criteria to do a PhD. This surely can help you but the passion for the subject is needed for the long run
- Hello Dr.
Are you the one who wants to flaunt the title or earn respect from the society? This will surely make a hype but will be gone at the snap of the finger. You will lack commitment to survive academia
- You are lost and don’t know what else to do!
Well you will one day finish your PhD and still face the same scenario. Hence, having a long term plan is what you need
- You will earn lot of money
Let me burst this myth! Most of the PhDs are based on funding, which manages the utilities of the project as well as the salary. So, definitely you will earn less than an industrial job.
There can be valid reasons as well to pursue a PhD. Let me summarize a few:
- Being passionate about your field
This is a very important and the foremost reason to start a PhD. Studying a research degree is a multi-year time commitment. If you’re excited by the idea of spending a significant period of time dedicated to one subject, that’s a good sign you’re ready. Having curiosity to discover new things in your respective field will keep you motivated. Your passion will drive you throughout your PhD
- You love academic writing
This is a great reason to get a PhD! If you are in academia then you probably have heard ‘Publish or perish’ where you have to write grants and publications. Even if you don’t publish you will definitely write your thesis. So if you love academic writing then you are a great fit to pursue a PhD
- You want to become a science communicator or a professor
If you are the one who wants a career in teaching or a tenure track professorship or want to become a science communicator, then you need a PhD. Having these end goals will keep you motivated and you will always see light at the end of the tunnel
- You want to contribute to your field
You will dive deep into key areas and challenges in your field, developing your theoretical approaches and applying it through your research. These learnings will give you tools to make meaningful contributions to specific research areas
So, What’s your WHY to walk on this journey?
Let us know in the comments!!!