Hi, this might be a weird thing to ask on here (but so far here seems to be a good place to get unbiased opinions covering a range of point of views) but does anyone on here have a phd?
Even if not, do you think it would be stupid of me to apply for one when my main reason is to procrastinate getting a full time job as I’m not mentally ready and am under increasing pressure from family.
Please let me know your thoughts/opinions, I’m currently undecided so would take any advice on board
Well @Ace12345 what you have to think is do you want to do it, what will the benefits be and what are you wanting to do after the PhD…
List the pros and cons and decide from there…
What’s your mind / gut telling you…
I’m the opposite left school at 16 straight to the coalface…
I understand your motivation for wanting to do this, but what I would say is that doing it purely as a procrastination tactic is a poor idea. If you’re going to apply to do a PhD, make sure you choose a subject you really are genuinely interested in, and then commit 100% to actually achieving the qualification. In the end you’re still going to have to face the job market, but at least a PhD will put you in a much better position in terms of what kind of job you can get.
Hi @Ace12345 I am not sure what your degree etc is in or what you want to do as a career. As someone who left school at 16 with reasonable o levels and then went on to do other exams equal to A levels I found practical / experience was the major requirement. You can become over qualified. I had 28 years in finance but when I was made redundant it was my IT knowledge gained over a 12 month period that got me another job. What job do you want to do? what are your current qualifications?
Would a phd help you or hinder you in what you might like to do as a career? I say hinder as sometimes being overly academically qualified can be a problem, particularly for more entry level jobs. However, this isn’t always the case.
I don’t think not being ready for a full time job is a bad reason for choosing to continue to study, providing you have the motivation and ability to actually continue studying.
It’s your decision but the longer you put off going into the job market, the harder it may be for you mentally. Will a PHD get you a better job, or will you just be overqualified and unemployed? Sorry if this seems a bit negative, but i know people who have been at Uni up until nearly 30, degrees coming out of their earholes, couldn’t get a relevant job and ended up saddled with debt and working a normal job. Nothing wrong with that obviously. But if you, yourself say it’s likely just putting off the inevitable, maybe you need to make a hard decision? Whatever you decide, i hope things work out for you.
I applied to do a PGCE after my degree for a similar reason and, not surprisingly, it determined my career for the next 40 years. I don’t regret it but I sometimes wonder what might have happened if I’d made a different choice at 22.
Hi @Ace12345. Think I was in a similar position to you this year. Just graduated from my degree and was stuck on whether to apply for a PhD or enter the job market. I had similar reasons, I didn’t have a particular passion for something, I just thought a PhD would buy me time and I could acquire some skills along the way and also sort of continue with doing stuff that I liked. But it just wasn’t right because my heart wasn’t in it, and I didn’t think I could commit for 3+ years. So decided to do a PGCE and looking forward to starting that!!
All in all, I’d agree with most here to make sure you have a passion for a PhD or choose one which might allow you to decide on your project a bit further down the line.
I can add this at least to remove some worries, a phd in the biology field should increase employability in most sectors rather than making me overqualified, though i still don’t know what specific job I’d like
If you’re in science subjects you will hit a glass ceiling without one, so by all means procrastinate by getting one in an area you are interested in as it will open doors for you in your future career and give you hands on experience. But bear in mind that PhDs are themselves incredibly stressful and time consuming things to complete, it will be the most stressful bit of education you undertake so don’t go into it lightly.
If you’re in the arts it’s a different kettle of fish. Have you done a masters already?
I’ve done an integrated masters which is basically part way between a masters and a bachelors i think (i still did the big research project but different time frame and a few less taught modules)
If you are passionate about the subject then doing a PhD would be a good solid option in terms of your career. But be very honest with yourself, if you don’t love the subject then it is not a wise path to take!
Don’t forget to look into graduate schemes, this is something I wish I had done - they will give you experience in all parts of a company, a leg up the career ladder AND help you to try lots of different kinds of work within an industry to see which suits you best, all while getting paid.
There are definitely professors/researchers (in the sciences) that I’ve asked who have taken a step away from graduate education and had a job for a few years too and then went to get their PhD afterwards, and continue their career in research. Like time away can give you a better perspective on what your passion is
I’m even planning to go back into research/PhD after a few years getting my teaching qualification
Hi @Ace12345 I was in a similar situation a few years back, I left university with my honours, couldn’t get a job, and was under a lot of pressure from family to get one. I considered a masters to prolong the job hunt, my degree was in engineering/music and we were told in our 2nd year that it is unlikely we’d get jobs in our field due to commercialisation, and it was true unfortunately. I had another family member who put off his PHD, found a job and his company put him through his PHD, paid the tuition, costs, all while maintaining a wage for himself, he split his time and it worked for him.
Like others have said, write a list of pros and cons, it weighs everything out in front of you, the demand of studying, cost, living expenses, loans, etc. I never did a masters in the end and waited 2 years until I got the job offer that was right for me. If you truly want to pursue a PHD, go for it! If you’re not going into it for passion, then it might not work out, studying is very demanding and stressful in itself, that’s not to say you can’t go back to the PHD in a few years, good luck! And I hope you come to a decision that’s right for you!
Hi @Ace12345 it depends on what your motativation is for doing a PhD. if you are looking at research based career options then a PhD can open up many opportunities and can significantly advance your career, however, it isnt the only pathway nor is it guaranteed to open doors.
If you are planning career that isnt specifically linked to your research field then a PhD may add little to your career options.
A PhD is a huge committment with reletively high drop out rates. If your not passionate about your research field from the off its very hard to remain focussed and motiavated throughout - especially when you are still living as a student and your undergraduate mates are working and enjoying the working world. I would never recommend such a committment if its just for procrastination - if thats the case take a gap year, travel this will give life experiences that will always be relevent to you.
That said, its a rare opportunity to run your own personal research projects, work in novel areas and be responsible for your own output. If you have the passion and the committment its a great thing to do.
Speak to you tutor and your lecturers they wil be able to give you good advice specific to your sector and you career plans.
Hi @Ace12345 , so I was in the exact same position as you… and I chose the PhD. It was a mistake.
Basically I had really enjoyed my undergrad and Masters (Astrophysics) but then didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. It was assumed by family that I would probably go on with Science, not necessarily PhD but Science into some sort of research job and I didn’t know what else I wanted to do and basically doing a doctorate meant I could procrastinate longer and keep a horse .
A few years in I was hating it, research topic (in my opinion) was pointless and would not help humanity in any way and the prospect of finishing writing my thesis was dire but (despite being in my 20s at the time) I was too scared to say to my parents I wanted to drop out. I then had a bad car accident (not my fault in any way at all - irrelevant to story but I always have to say it) and in hospital I was like no, nearly died, want to do something with my life that I enjoy.
At that point I dropped out and went to work full time with horses, eventually lack of cash and no employment benefits put pay to that and I started working on a farm. Love that. Still doing it. Parents totally happy with it as at the end of the day most just want their kids to to be happy and independent.
That’s my story, basically a long way of saying procrastination and not knowing what you want to do is a bad reason to take on a PhD though I completely get where you’re coming from!
Me, no but my dad and my sister , yes and my daughter has just been accepted for next year.
You have the whole of your life to work and based on your Masters grade , it would seem like a really good thing to do. On the flip side, you have the whole of your life to study. My daughter for example worked several years after initial graduation before starting a Masters which gave the chance to enjoy having a bit of independent cash. I think though maybe the longer you left it, the harder it would get.
It would definitely not be stupid to apply (my daughter had the same doubts) - when you are accepted somewhere (as you will be), you can still defer. Applying will allow you to procrastinate a little longer before making a decision
Hi, I am in the same boat atm. I will graduate in a month (Masters in immunology and immunotherapy) but feel like im not ready yet for a full time job in my field. There are quite a few PhD students working in the lab where I am doing the experiments for my project, and they make very long days and are usually quite stressed out as they have a lot of responsibilities. A PhD, at least in the biomedical field, often includes longer work days compared to a full time job, including working in the weekend, and is more stressful. On the other hand, more possibilities to learn new skills and experiment, and you will be a student for a while longer
Im not sure where you live, but in the UK, some universities have 1 year PGR programs. For me, this means no classes, but 12 full months in the lab, writing a thesis and then a viva. Its kinda a 1 jr mini-PhD. Might be worthwhile to see if this would be a possibility for you? It would buy you a year, and if you still dont feel ready after it but did enjoy it, you can be quite certain you would enjoy a full PhD! And if you hate it, you have learned a PhD might not be for you, and only ‘wasted’ a year.
Anyway, I hope things work out for you <3
I’d make a list of the pros and cons. Also what would you want to get from a phd and eventually do with it after you’ve accomplished this as you may find your family then puts even more pressure on you to get a better job when you have qualifications for it.
In honesty I’d talk to them about how your feeling and out right say your not in the right place of mind to be jumping into full time work. Chances are you may be able to find a middle friend that suits you and pleases them too.