My name is Marika Strano, I am 28 years old, and I am a first year PhD student in English Literature at Swansea University. It is very difficult for me to write this article and to make light of my “journey” as a PhD student because I don’t want to lie to you, it is not easy being a PhD student. The admissions process is even more difficult for international students, and my experience was no exception. So, let's start from the beginning.
A PhD can be a lonely adventure. This thought has never bothered me. I was always the person to say, “I love my own company”. Certainly, after five years of being a secondary school teacher, the silence of my home office is a welcomed one! And now, I enjoy working from home, I enjoy getting on with the task at hand, and I enjoy the solitude of researching my topic. However, eventually, (like I did) you will realise that you need other people. If for no reason other than to just tell you “It will be all right”. It wasn’t until around halfway through my first year that I realised I may need someone more conversational than my cats who, despite their best efforts, aren’t the greatest communicators. There are a few ways to build your support system during this time, and if you’re lucky enough like me, you’ll have a wonderful partner and a huge, loving family that rallies around you. But even if family and familiar friends are far away, I still have something for you. Here are just a few ways that I dragged myself out of the cave that is my home office and I hope, in times of loneliness, you can do the same.
My name is Hannah Ryan, and I am a final year student in the School of Sociology and Policy at Aston University, researching the visual representation of refugees and asylum seekers in UK newspapers. As I come to the end of my PhD journey and I’m hard at work writing my final thesis, I have given myself some time to reflect on the lessons that I have learnt along the way. I share these lessons here in the hope that they may help other PhD students along their journeys.
“We Regret To Inform You That Your PhD Application Has Been Successful...” A Short Story On The Challenges Of Finding A PhD Scholarship By Dr Chris Thompson
TW // Article contains references to suicide and suicidal behaviour
My name is Chris Thompson, and from 2016-2019, I was a PhD student at Saarland University (Germany) and the University of Technology, Sydney (Australia). For three years, I got to conduct several research projects with professional football players, and I was fortunate to sample new cultures and make lifelong friends along the way. I travelled around Europe to share my findings, and I often partied like it was 1999 (albeit on a PhD stipend budget). I crammed so much into that time, it felt like I’d lived a number of lives in that experience.
Sounds great right? It had its moments. But let me tell you something – it took a heck of a long time to get to this position. In this short blog, I will talk about the painful pursuit of a PhD scholarship which was more challenging than doing a PhD itself.
The PhD Place hosts a community of PGR students from all over the world. All views expressed are by the individual authors.