Posts Tagged With: Doctor of Philosophy

#15. The joys of PhD

After hitting the “publish” button for my last post on the long and winding road to PhD, I went back to re-read it…and then got depressed. And as if exactly on cue, a friend on Facebook echoed what was going on in my mind – “kind of depressing”…uh oh. Did I just turn my soap box into a source of depressing information…argh – so. not. my. intention. If there is one thing that is so annoying, its parents who whine and complain about how much they hate parenting and then bookend their rant and rave with “but I really adore my kids, I wouldn’t trade them in for anything”….I am usually thinking, by the sounds of it, you would. I feel like I have become one of those whiny parents vis a vis PhD. holding. face. in. shame.

While I can’t redeem myself from that post, I can balance out some of our experiences. Here’s my top 10 list of the joys of PhD…YES believe me the list is endless, but why share all the love today? I’ll save some for later…

#10. I spend most of my day in my pyjamas

Dr. D will probably not approve of this ‘joy’, he is of the old school of thought that requires that you shower the minute you get out of bed. And while I probably try to take said shower before noon, I often resort right back to comfy clothes – read, pyjamas. Now, before you jump to the conclusion that pyjamas = laziness, I’ll have you know that some of the most creative thought processes emerge from a pyjama-state-of-wardrobe. Unless I have to go out into the real world and interact with other human beings, comfort rules… Continue reading

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#14. When should I start my PhD?

It’s all about timing.

And the thing about timing is that it varies for everyone. In fact if you found someone who told you that you should do your PhD by age X or Y, run…fast. One of the key things I’m learning to do is to pace myself with myself and not with others. It is so hard to see your peers moving on to the next thing, whether it is professionally into that new job or that new position, or on to their masters, or PhD or on to having kids, first one or second, or nth…and not see the same manifest for yourself. It must be human instinct, because it causes  us to look at them and then look at ourselves and think I’m falling behind, I haven’t even gotten married and my peers are on to third and fourth child…when will I catch up. Or my peers have bought a second house and I haven’t even finished up my first degree.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven (NKJV).

I know that we often ‘get’ that, but we act like the season is global – its for everybody. So if it is marriage season then everybody must be getting married and if you’re not, then you’re off season. The truth is that there is a season for each and every one of us, and rather than trying to be in synch with other peoples’ seasons, we need to get in synch with our season.

So how do you know when you should start your PhD? What is the best time? Continue reading

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#4.Education – Why it is still important

When growing up, there was a swahili song on the radio that had all parents and teachers excited. “Someni Vijana”  they bleated out of tune, hoping to manipulate encourage us at the time to get an education. The lyrics basically say study young people, increase the level of your effort, at the end of your education/studies, you will get a great job.

Someni vijana,

Muongeze bei ya bidii,

Mwisho wa kusoma,

Mutapata kazi nzuri sana

~Henry Makobi

That was the 90s. That was Africa. That was within structural adjustment. A lot young people followed that formula only to be disillusioned by economies that were neither ready to absorb them nor appreciate their talents or skills in any monetarily gainful manner as promised. Continue reading

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What is a Masters degree worth? à la NY Times

I was scouting the internet to see what’s ‘out there’ concerning Masters degree after doing a blogpost on seven reasons to do a masters, and I came across a series of short articles done by the NY Times’ “Room for Debate” series back in 2009. The writers are three US professors and a financial advisor debating the economic merits of doing a masters degree:

  • Mark C. Taylor from Columbia University,

    Image representing New York Times as depicted ...

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  • Stephen Joel Tranchenberg, Former University President,
  • Liz Pulliam Weston, personal finance columnist
  • Richard Vedder, Ohio University economist

Now keep in mind that this was at the heart of the economic downturn (2009) so all things financial especially in the States were shrouded in doom and gloom, and also that this is a very American perspective.

Here’s a gist of the arguments they make:

Continue reading

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#3. Why do a Master’s degree? Seven reasons

1. It opens up your mind

Around my third year in undergrad, I was done. I felt like the coursework became an annoying song on repeat that I couldn’t change and I felt like I wasn’t learning anything new. On the contrary, when I was doing my masters I felt like we were learning practical, tangible and analytical skills. I finally felt like this is WHAT I always wanted my education to be like – something relevant to what I am interested in and at the same time practical for the job market. That was public health.  At the masters level, you tend to learn analytical skills, critical thinking and if you are able to get some research methods in there as well those can prove to be very helpful in the increasingly conceptual job market that we have today. Continue reading

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