As I told you in an earlier post my friend had forwarded the article 8 reasons for not undertaking a postgraduate degree. After I told her that I was rather insulted by the authors negative attitude towards PhD students in education, she apologized for even having forwarded such a negative post. Her sentiment was that there are indeed a many reasons FOR undertaking a postgraduate degree and we should not participate in the current negative discourse in this matter.
She is right—I have been bogged down by all the negativity within the education (well actually the whole public) sector lately, and the growing mount of rejection letters does nothing to diverge the negativity. So with this post I try to amend the negativity a bit and remember the reasons [well the other reasons besides wanting a job in academia and train teachers] for setting out to undertake this adventure.
1. You can research what ever your heart desires
It is the one and only time in your life when and where (I am never sure about the temporal-spatial ratio of the phrase: time in life) you can plot, plan, design and conduct a research project that is truly yours.
… such as drooling patterns of PhDzillas after chocolate consumption
2. You meet a lot of people who actually understand what the heck you are talking about
3. Your job is to read
4. Your job is to think
5. Your job is to analyse
6. You can go to conferences and see the world
7. You can talk in front of people and they have to listen
8. Pizza, chocolate and coffee constitute your stable affordable diet
9. Free food at seminars and events
10. No one is yelling at you for being creative
11. People don’t mind if you think ‘outside the box’ (apologies for the cliché)
12. People stop telling you that you are too young to do what you want to do
13. You do not need excuses to buy stationary
Yes I know major Montblanc fan over here!
14. You keep getting awesome discounts
15. You don’t pay taxes …
… because you are so poor after sending in your P45’s you get a long and almost compassionate letter from the tax office that tells you: you are exempt for the time being,
16. Flexible working time
Get up at 5 a.m. or sleep till noon but work until 4 a.m. what ever your needs no one gives a dime as long as you hand in all the necessary paper work and reports in time. BLISS
17. You can make your workplace as plain or crazy as you need to get cracking:
18. People don’t roll their eyes when you ask questions,
this comes with the territory of being encouraged to think and explore.
19. Did I mention pizza and coffee and chocolate?
that should count as at least two points on my list
20. You can do all kinds of really interesting part-time jobs and put your toe into the water:
You can begin with volunteering if you are not in desperate need for money—yes YOU; you know exactly whom I am talking too. All the science and engineering students who get twice of our scholarships [at least]. I really recommend to try and get a part-time job in a company, institute etc and try out working in the field for at least a semester. This is better than an internship because you have more time to build relationships and there are usually more chances to try a variety of tasks, if you like something and stay longer you can even work your way up.
For example before I began my PhD I worked in a museum, later the curator managed to secure funding for education projects. So she asked me to take up the project management of developing, testing, evaluating such programs, train staff and implement the change. I would never have gotten this chance without proving myself in the previous part-time job.
So I hope you are more positive about your choice. Try not to take the negative discourse in the field personally. Think about why you are in for this journey and if your end goal changed because of the massive changes in higher education focus on what is next, are there alternatives you could try?
Good Luck and as usual if you can think of more reasons bring them on! There are loads of fellow sufferers who need as many reasons as we can collect!