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PhD Candidate at Griffith University, mummy, wife, teacher, social media enthusiast, avid reader

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Part Time vs Full Time PhD

I fear this post will smell a little like a Hollywood starlet that insists she likes her curves before losing 20kg and feeling better than ever...

I am currently enrolled in a part time PhD but would love a scholarship that allows me to study full time but like the Hollywood starlet, I think the decision about the type of enrolment for a PhD depends on the roles you prefer to play.

I am first and foremost a mother. I fell pregnant with Ivy during my first year as a PhD student and presented my confirmation defense with swollen ankles. Issues about methodology and data collection were re-thought to fit with my new lifestyle. I collected my data off a social media site, which I could do from home (sometimes babe on breast). My methodology of analysis (phenomenogrpahy) suits periods of rest (good red wine). Both of these decisions were made, not because they were what I was passionate about (that came later) but because they suited me.

Secondly, I am a wife. Marriages are more important than PhDs. I would give my study up in a second if my patient husband needed me. I can always go back to study. Enrolment as a part time student gives me an expansive eight years. The flexibility associated with a part time PhD is invaluable. 

Thirdly, I am a career woman and mortgage holder. The financial well-being of my family is more important than my ability to call myself a Doctor. My PhD is patient. It waits for me to finish teaching each semester, greeting me with a grateful smile every time my students leave for their practicum. The advantages of networks and mentors in university teaching will be invaluable when I finally submit. The PhD will get done. Meanwhile, I massage my career.

Lastly, I am a PhD student. I love my study like a hobby. When I was overwhelmed by motherhood people suggested I give up my PhD and focus on something that would make me happy. My response was always that I want my PhD. Study is my little escape from the pressures of motherhood and mortgage repayments. I am aware I am a nerd.

The twist to my little story is that I am again pregnant, in write-up and crossing my fingers for a scholarship on 22nd June.  I plan to study full-time, chip away at my mortgage with my living allowance, have my thesis at draft stage and give birth by early January. For 6 more months my daughter will go to child care more often and I will study on weekends. Though it may seem my roles will reverse, the short time of tipping the balance will allow me wallow in my family for a few months before beginning a career as an academic.

If I don't get the scholarship, see above.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post Naomi. You certainly have your priorities right, which is necessary, you are one busy woman!