Look before you leap (part 1): 10 things you should know about a PhD but may not have been told

I was talking to a friend recently about the Ph.D. as a program, as an intellectual endeavour. This post by Nick Hopwood lists things that I really do wish someone had told me before I started. Its not that I would have rethought going ahead but it would have definitely help manage expectations!!!
It took me a while to figure out that this was not how it was going to be for the next 2, 4 , 6 months but for the rest of life! This is it…. this is life now. Would I want it another way? probably not but I would have liked a warning!!

Nick Hopwood

1.     You and your work are crucial to the future of humanity and the world

No, really. Fact is, society needs knowledge. Society is changing. We need new knowledge. We are constantly playing catch-up, as well as relying on people to get one step ahead and shape our visions for the future. Without research we are doomed. And without doctoral students, a huge portion of the research pie simply disappears. Estimates put doctoral research output at over 50% of all research output in some countries (eg. Australia).

But it’s not just that doctoral students provide an army of research worker-ants (though they do and are increasingly seen in this light at a policy level). The point is doctoral work is cherished because in many ways it is unlike much other research. In arts and social sciences, where we tend not to join existing projects in labs, doctoral students get to…

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