Why go post-grad?

student looking through bookshelf (close up)

Deciding to continue studies after completing your degree is not a task to be taken lightly. It’s a lot of hard work, that needs to be high quality that not only isn’t earning you money but it’s costing you.

I’m a part time, self funding PhD researcher with just shy of 3 years left until completion.  It leaves me both time and cash poor. My social life is seriously affected and I won’t have time to read out side of my field until I’m done. It’s not glamorous and it’s not easy. Every spare day and every spare pound is put towards making the project better.

With all that said, I must do it for some reason. What is it that keeps me going better than a new dress from zara? Why did I even dream of it in the first place?

Circumstances as they were for me gave me an opportunity to review my life plan. What were my strengths, interests and ambitions? It didn’t take long for me to see that I should continue with academic work as far as I can take it. It suits me. It gives me food for brain and soul. It makes me feel accomplished and like I can offer my best to the world. That may seem a little hyperbolic, but seriously why else would you run such a gauntlet?

I jotted down some of my motivations when planning this blog. Here’s what I jotted down:

  • re-thinking life
  • sense of achievement / bucket list.
  • to fine tune my research skills.
  • to have an impact.

The last item on my list could easily sit next to ‘to be rich’ ‘to sell books’ ‘to change the world’  ‘to be famous’ and ‘to prove I’m smart’ or be placed firmly on the should never be motivated by these things list.

A PhD will open a lot of doors but behind those doors there are richer, smarter people. It is your attitude and tenacity that will make you those things. But I am not going to lie, I really would like my research to have an impact.

Plus why not be open about the fact that being able to call oneself a Dr. does have a particular charm. It denotes trustworthiness,  rigour, and particular standards. If this is something you are looking for then why not go out and get it? There is a big message out there to all budding PhD researcher that I’m afraid I must echo. Being interested and engaged in your subject is vital!! I can’t stress this enough. If you do any further reading around becoming a PhD student or researcher you will hear this many times.  It is THAT important.

I had been out of higher education for eight years when I started seriously looking into post graduate education. It was draughting and after contacting lots of different universities about various courses and programmes I felt lost and like it was a bit of a foolish endeavour.  However contacting The University of Cumbria turned that right around.  I found Sonia Mason and the Grad School went above and beyond my expectations and made everything seem straightforward.  I felt like someone was finally on my side. I continue to get that same level of support from her over two years later.

My career isn’t completely mapped out and I have no definite idea of where my research will take me but I hope you will enjoy sharing the journey with me.

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You can learn more about Kerry’s research here: www.kerryrowberry.co.uk/research.html and you can also read her academic blog here: www.gbshamanismphd.wordpress.com. Please email kerryrowberry@uni.cumbria.ac.uk if you have any direct questions, and please do leave some comments below!

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