Postgraduate research is like nothing else on the planet — it is certainly a world apart from anything experienced during the undergraduate study — and the voyage is amazing. If you think you’re prepared, however, you aren’t. If you think you’re unprepared, that’s a good start.
Studying for a PhD should be highly motivated, personally and organisationally. A prospective student needs to prepare themselves for incredible discoveries, but they need to recognize that such discoveries will come at a cost. At the undergraduate level study can be done without too much of a stretch. But the black hole at the center of time cannot be identified without considerable personal struggle and a commitment that is almost exotic and close to madness. This may be why anyone considering PhD courses in UK needs to think several times and take plenty of advice.
The first element of this commitment is time: a PhD Programmes Online is demanding you spend time with it in ways even a lover or dog would not ask. Don’t read for a doctorate if you’re an eight-hour-a-day worker who likes to relax and take long breaks. Time is transformed from something you must fill with Netflix and regular holidays to an enemy. Three years pass in a flash, a terrible accident on the orbital motorway of imagination. Yet time can be manipulated and if organized and conducted well can allow a PhD to be life-enhancing.
The second element is energy: do you have the physical, mitochondrial resources vital for effort and resilience? You may surprise yourself but — as with time — energy, while it cannot be destroyed can certainly be inappropriately transformed. Study at this level only if you can fill your reserves by reading and reconsidering and reforming: old low-energy paradigms won’t be up to a PhD.
The third and perhaps crucial element of a student’s commitment comes in terms of their willingness to abandon their real and metaphorical positions as disinterested observers and become far more involved with the world around them. Can you do this? Do you have the intellectual commitment to see everything from a new perspective?
Postgraduate research does not depend on a soulful repetition of nostrums which have kept you comfortable from your schooldays. If you want to study for a PhD you need to be prepared to leave cosiness behind in a drawer. Study at this level means you reject the comfortable for the discomforting, testing as much of our shared understanding as you can. Do not expect you will be the same person after you have sat your viva at the end of your doctoral journey as you are now. You will be irrevocably transformed. This is one reason to study for a PhD. The other is to want to change the world as well as your view of the world.
If you’re comfortable and dismissive of change, don’t read for a doctorate.
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