One day my supervisor told me: ‘You can’t really know what a PhD is like as long as you don’t do one!’.
I guess she was right !!! I had many misconceptions of what a PhD is before undertaking one.
Here again below, I made a comparative list between what I thought of the PhD process before starting, and what I think of it now (including negative but also positive sides).
The list is still not exhaustive, and any of you who would like to complete it, feel free!
I suppose it could be useful for someone who is just about to start his or her PhD…
|Before my PhD||Now|
|•I will definitely be done in 3 years time||•I will never be done in 3 years time…but nobody I know completed in 3 years anyway|
|•My research will change the world||•My research will never change the world, and one of my main objective is to please my examiners… but my academic voice will be more credible once I am a doctor|
|•I will easily find a research question and a methodological approach as long as I am passionate about my research topic||•The more I read the literature, the more I think of potential approaches I could use, and research questions I could develop …but I will reach a threshold where I will be knowledgeable enough to identify the research gaps, and narrow down my research|
|•The PhD research process will always be interesting and exciting
•I will be interacting constantly with my research community
|• My research process is many moments of doubts, boredom, despair…but data collection is a great and exciting moment, discovering new literature can also be very exciting
• The PhD is a quite lonely process (for social sciences), and I am the only one who can do it (as it is illegal to pay someone else to do it for you:))…but I own a research project that will make valuable contribution to my research field