In currently serving as the Blogger-In-Residence for the Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities, I’ve had the unique opportunity to weight-in and reflect upon various aspects of the doctoral experience. Via weekly posts, here are my varied insights into this process known as Earning the PhD.
We’ve tackled study/life balance, but what about the great many of us who want to take an internship? Are expected or desire to tutor? Want to continue to build skills outside of academe proper? What about those among us who take a paying job of any sort, for whatever reason, that is unrelated (or tangentially related) but in any case lies beyond the scope of writing a dissertation or thesis?
In other words: what of the work/study-life balance?
Declare a No-Judgment Zone
Before anything else: do not, at any point, feel as if you are required to justify, explain, or apologise for the reasons you choose to work. Likewise, don’t fall into the trap of considering yourself wiser, or more competent/capable than those of your peers who do not hold a position of some sort beyond their programme. Whether it’s because you want professional experience, would very much like to pay for groceries, or because it’s actually quite nice to do a certain amount of work and know you’ll get a certain amount of compensation in a certain amount of time for said work—particularly when you’re in the throes of doctoral research, where the rewards are largely long-term and monetary compensation tends to be fairly scarce: no matter the reason, you’re choosing to work where some of your colleagues may choose not to, and that’s neither good nor bad—simply a difference.