Tuesday, June 29, 2010


For the past eight months I’ve been hanging around the School of Psychology pretending to be a PhD student. Last year I worked as a research assistant for one of the academics in the department but since October last year when my role in that position ended I’ve had no official affiliation with university or the school.

Despite this, I continued to show up every day and pretty much perform the activities of the average PhD student. Such activities included conducting my own research, attending weekly lab meetings, attending weekly seminars and reading groups and tutoring. I even attended a conference in Melbourne where I presented research. I have a suspicion that a number of people in the department were under the impression I was doing a PhD. I felt a bit like Frank Abagnale Jr. only without a Hollywood blockbuster based around my life (the analogy is a stretch I admit but I struggled for another and I like the sound if it).

Anyway the Jig is up. After a drawn out application process and a minor hiccup with the processing of my application I am now officially enrolled in a PhD in the School of Psychology. Not a great deal has changed although I’m now being paid to be here which is great and I feel as though I now have a purpose to be here. With financial benefits comes responsibility though and my supervisors were quick to inform me that they now have real authority over me and as Matt points out I’m still just a lowly ‘Provisional PhD Candidate ‘. I’m not an actual PhD Candidate until I have been ‘confirmed’.

So what’s really changed? Well I’m now being paid to be here but apparently I’m still a no body and now people can tell me what to do. I can't help but wonder whether all I've done is sold my freedom :P ?

To be serious for one moment though, its incredibly exciting to be a new member of the UQ and Psychology research community :).

James Retell

Are you studying Psychology@UQ and want to contribute to theuqpsycblog??Send Will an email to find out how: will.harrison@uqconnect.edu.au

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