Where did the time go? It feels as though one year has been misplaced somewhere as it’s impossible to fathom that I’m in the 4th year of my PhD. It has certainly been a roller coaster ride and the idea of the end nearing is both exciting and terrifying. Thinking through everything that needs to be completed in the next 12 months is overwhelming but at the same time entirely possible. The key is to stay focussed and disciplined, slow and steady persistence wins the race 😉
The past few years have been such a steep learning curve and I look back at my naive optimistic first year self with a little bit of fondness for blindly jumping onto the rollercoaster. You can’t really put into the words the experience of doing a PhD or prepare yourself for what lies ahead. While the challenges are many, the scale tends to tip towards the rewards more often than not.
Just for fun, here are some key words that describe each year of my PhD:
First year: Optimistic ignorance
Second year: Sink or swim
Third year: Writing and waiting and waiting some more
Fourth year: Persistence and tenacity
While the amount of work to be completed this year is no joke, I know that I can get through it with careful plotting and planning. I love a good list and even more, love checking things off.
One of the things stressing me out at the moment is the constant enquiry into what I will do post-PhD. I know most people start a PhD with some ultimate career goal in mind but I honestly started without any idea of where it may lead me. I know that I love the topic and basis of my research and would love an opportunity to continue doing research in this field, but I have no idea what this looks like in regards to a job. I feel that this is where Universities let PhD students down. From all that I’ve heard, it’s very competitive and difficult getting an academic job and there maybe research jobs but only if it fits in with your topic area. My ideal situation would be to work as part-time clinician (physio) and part-time researcher/lecturer.
So, as I take my final year, one week at a time, I’m trying to keep my heart and eyes open to what possibilities or opportunities there maybe out there in the universe 🙂 While networking is not my strong suit, I will make an effort to seek out and meet people who are working in my field. You never know what may come from a putting yourself out there! (FYI this last paragraph is a speech from myself to myself…. hope I’m listening haha)