What does a PhD actually involve? This was something that I spent a long time researching before my interviews and what I read was so different to what I’m experiencing now.
It took me two attempts to get my PhD place. I applied for a few during the final year of my undergraduate degree but quite haphazardly. I wasn’t entirely sure where I wanted to be based so submitted applications to a couple close to where my parents live. I knew that I loved diseases and bacteria and parasites but I didn’t feel that I wanted to work with animal models again. Without the funds to study for a Masters, I took a year out and worked as a lab technician for a company that designs and manufactures flavourings for food and beverages.
I had such a great year working; I really enjoyed my job, there was the opportunity early on to progress and the people were so lovely. But it reinforced that science was what I wanted to build a career from. So I found myself coming back to the same question that I had struggled with 12 months previously – what does a PhD actually involve? My technician role helped tick the ‘I like working in a lab’ box and from my summer placement studying the parasite Schistosoma I knew that I enjoyed working on an original problem. But I was really unsure about what a PhD would be like on a day to day basis.
Happily, I received two PhD offers and accepted the one at York. It keeps me close to parasitic diseases but through my main love of microbiology, and I am learning so many new computer skills that I hope will help in the future. I feel super fortunate every day to get paid for something so amazing. But it absolutely nothing like what I had expected, mostly because I had no real idea of what to expect.
Introducing Snapshot Science. This will become a new page on the An Anxious Scientist site. I’ll upload a collage of images from a day in my science life and briefly chat about the interesting bits. It’s going to be very tempting to only put up days when really cool things are happening but that is exactly what I want to avoid doing; I want to give a really accurate picture of what doing a PhD is like. I hope that it will be useful for anyone considering a PhD. If food features heavily, please don’t judge…
My first ‘day’ is already up, so have a look and let me know what you think!
Rebecca | An Anxious Scientist