Disclaimer: This article has been written by a PhD scholar, and is not meant to offend any other PhD scholar, as we are already an endangered species.
It is with great pride that the parents of a PhD scholar tell relatives that their ‘child’ (who is actually over 22, at the very least) is pursuing his or her research.
Relatives and neighbours get rosy visions of high academic achievement, which is true to a large extent because if we weren’t good at our subject, we wouldn’t subject ourselves to 3 to 5 years of research on it.
However, it’s not purely out of passion that we choose to join PhD. Here are some truths about life as a PhD scholar:
While we love our subject, many of us opt for research after our masters because either we don’t like a working life or are not ready to leave our student days behind (or both).
I have also seen many girls particularly opting to pull the PhD on for 5 years to postpone the prospect of getting married.
Fellowships are life. We spend half our time studying for the NET and JRF in the hope that we will have a steady monthly income in the form of fellowship money.
We need the money to buy fat books to study for more exams so that we can get more money to buy more fat books… The cycle continues.
By the time you reach the PhD level, you’re done with mess food. While I opted to stay at home and not on campus (so that I have the home comforts and food), I’ve seen many hostellers cooking their own meals because, after years of living in hostels, they’re done with the mess food.
“Library Visit” – the magic words that make any PhD scholar’s eyes light up. Going to a library, surrounded by all the books we’ve dreamt of but never been able to buy, and actually getting sanctioned time off for doing this!
It’s a bookworm’s dream come true. Many of us also love travelling to other states to visit famous libraries with specific collections related to our area of research.
“Outstation Conference” – the other magic words in the life of a PhD student. Of course, the fun is more about travelling with your friends to a new place, eating, and experiencing its culture than actually attending the conference.
While many of us are appreciated for following intellectual pursuits, we actually have little to no social life. PhD students are the forgotten species in any university- no parties or fests, and each day is exactly the same as the previous and the next.
We rarely get to interact with our juniors since we don’t have as many classes, and end up being lone wolves. The only face we see on a regular basis is that of our guide.
If the guide is good, then there’s no problem, but if he or she isn’t, then this can be an extremely depressing situation.
We want to read more but rarely get the time. When we joined, we thought doing our PhDs would be all about reading.
However, more time is spent writing, re-writing, re-re-writing, running errands for our guides and the department at large, invigilating exams, correcting answer sheets, and teaching classes than actually reading.
If you have any more relatable points to add, do mention them in the comments below!
Image Credits: Google Images, Best Indian Starter Pack
Sources: Author’s Experience, Best Indian Starter Pack
Find the author online at: @samyukthanair_