Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Earlier this year I told my boss that I wanted to start a PhD after I return from a conference in October. It would really be the perfect time to st
art. See, I’ve promised my girlfriend we’ll go to Brazil for the 2014 Soccer World Cup. The 2010 World Cup has just finished, meaning if I start after the conference in October, then it gives me just over 3.5 years to finish a PhD (and learn Portuguese) before holidaying it up in Brazil after I submit my thesis.

James recently began his PhD and it took him about two months, from starting his application to getting the acceptance email, to become an enrolled Ph
D student. Even though there was a hiccup with his application I think the transition from impostor to PhD student was pretty quick and seamless for James. Since his topic and supervisors progressed naturally from his work as a research assistant, James didn’t need to spend time coming up with a new topic or getting chummy with an academic he hardly knew (although you could argue that was what he did throughout his time as an RA).

Unlike James (and others), I don’t have my heart set on a particular topic or supervisor, I just want to do a PhD! By all rights that should make my decision much easier but it hasn’t. People have offered me advice about picking topics or supervisors. Some say to ignore the topic for now and to just think about the supervisor that I want to work with. On the other hand, some have said that the supervisor doesn’t really matter, it’s t
he topic that counts. It’s safe to say I’m still feeling pretty confused...

I get back from the conference in three months. If it took James two months to get accepted, then I’ve got a month to find a supervisor and a topic before I submit my application!! Stay tuned!

If you are a veteran PhD student please feel free to leave advice in the comments section :)

(See you in Brasil!)

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

1 comment:

  1. One thing that I've come to realise during my post-submission reflections is that it's possible for different people to have vastly different PhD experiences (in terms of the research itself, style of supervision, non-technical skills training, etc), but still end up equally satisfied.

    If you are getting conflicting advice, I'd suggest thinking about who your academic role models are (current and former PhD students, professors) and ask them what their opinions are on the apparent conflict.