Love your PhD

My last few blog posts haven’t really been filled with how my life as a PhD student is all fun and games …. I started writing this blog to give ‘advice’ and talk about PhD life. Unfortunately I fall into the same boat as a lot of people on the planet in that I find it somewhat easier to moan about what I am doing rather than shout about how good things are.  If you ever met me in real life, away from this blog you would find that I am (mostly) a happy positive person.

I hear a lot of people moaning constantly about how their PhD is AWFUL.  Most information on the internet seems to be about how rubbish life is as a PhD student. Whether it is supervisor issues, lack of money or struggling to write a thesis – you can find any problem under the sun on the internet, written by a poor PhD student somewhere. It seems like a constant barrage of why PhD’s are rubbish. I do admit I don’t wake up every single day and immediately shout to everyone I see about how much I LOVE MY PHD.  But, when I do take time out to think about what I am doing, I realise how much I really enjoy it. I get to spend my days researching, reading and investigating a topic that I love. I think of my PhD and biology in general as a great big puzzle and I am (hopefully) putting some of the bits together with my research. Plus there are tonnes of opportunities that open up (conferences, meeting people to name just a few) whilst you are doing a PhD. Not every day is fantastic, it does have its problems, but would I rather be doing anything else? No.

I think people are too quick to say how rubbish PhD s is and how horrible life is as a PhD student. But really, if you are granted the opportunity to do a PhD in a topic you are interested in you are extremely lucky. Lots of people want to do a PhD but can’t and plenty of people are stuck in jobs which are far harder work than being a PhD student– so make the most of it. Unless there is a serious problem within your PhD I think you should try to learn to love and enjoy what you are doing as much as possible. If you are struggling trying to remember why you are doing it, take some time out and think about the good points, think about the  opportunities and remember why you are doing it. It’s your life, it’s your project and most importantly, you chose to do it, so – ENJOY IT!!!


About Heather Doran

I am a PhD student at the University of Aberdeen. My PhD is Molecular Biology and Pharmacology based. I studied Molecular Biology and Biochemistry with a year in Industry at Durham University. I then went on to work in research and development in the consumer goods industry for 12 months. I decided for my long term career and for my own personal interests I wanted to pursue a PhD – so I went for it and I am enjoying (nearly) every minute! I am really passionate about science communication and I get involved in lots of different activities that are available through the University and through being a PhD student. I hope my blog will be useful for people who are thinking of doing a PhD in any subject and also for those that are studying for their PhDs at the moment.

6 Responses to Love your PhD

  1. Tas says:

    You get to meet great people, go places, make dry ice explosions, watch project students struggle to make EDTA, fall asleep at in lunch time seminars, work your own hours, read great science online for free and have very long coffee breaks with friends. What’s not to love?

  2. Have to say I loved This article. Writing for my own blog when I find the time – It is the comments questions that keep me interested and know that I am reaching someone more than a search spider or someone looking to sell something in the comments.

  3. InDoctor says:

    I have to agree totally with this article. I won’t lie and say I’ve never had the occasional moan and complaint about my PhD. But, I think that is just more out of frustration when something doesn’t go the way you presumed it would. I think the feeling of solving that problem far outweighs those occasional complaints. As long as you can be disciplined enough to ignore your frustration, it will definitely pay off.

  4. ailsa says:

    love mine too.
    What makes it a pleasure: picking a topic that will keep interest over a few years.
    Negotiating the relationships involved: This time around i trusted the universe to supply a supervisor, and i am truelly blessed. probably wouldnt have chosen him, but am really impressed- he seems to think that the world needs educated people and that we cannot afford to have education wasted and students falling over- whether at the early stages of edn or in a phd :) Made friends along the way with excellent colleagues/peers mostly by social media, some by summer or winter schools…use of twitter, icq, skype, diigolet- now i know i am never alone :)
    Family being tolerant.
    And working with a not4profit organisation who are just so open.
    Finishing it might be hard…i like it too much :)

  5. Maddy says:

    It’s interesting to read an article that isn’t negative about PhDs! I’ve been offered a PhD recently and am trying to choose between that and a graduate teaching scheme (Teach First). All over the internet people seem to be very frustrated and annoyed with their PhDs and tend to counsel forgetting a PhD unless you KNOW it’s for you, but how do you KNOW you’re going to like it, be interested and motivated if you haven’t tried it yet? I think I want to do a PhD, but I also would like to try being a teacher and I’m finding it ever so hard to decide. Thanks for your article… it made me think about the good sides to PhDs that tend to get forgotten!

  6. vik says:

    Finally i see hope some where. Numerous thoughts cross every day, every moment and its really hard to keep yourself pointed right. Well you’ve the compass , others dont. I will see how far it can guide me. I need a fresh start from now onwards. Thanking you a lot

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