People often come to me and ask, should they do a PhD or is a PhD worth it? I think the answer is gonna be different for everyone. So, I put together a list of 20 questions that you might want to ask yourself before you start a PhD. These might even be useful to ask an answer before we even start embarking on a new course or some new training. That might be particularly important now with COVID-19 having the massive impact that it's had. Perhaps, you've got laid off, and you're thinking about going back to study. These questions might be useful for you.
The first one is why? Why are you going back just good to study? What is the purpose of going back to study or what's the purpose of doing a PhD?
The next thing is how do I study? How do I like to learn? Do I like to learn face to face? Do I like to learn digitally? Do I like to learn on my own? Do I need to learn in a group?
How do I prefer to learn? Do I prefer to learn by watching? Do I prefer to learn by doing or is it a combination? Do I want to have hands-on experience? Or is it something that I could just essentially watch it a series of podcasts or a series of online tutorials, and I'm happy with it.
The next question is what do I want to do after I complete my study? In this context, people ask this question of themselves, when they're doing a PhD. What's the PhD going to do to make life different after you finish? The same will be true for any course that you might do afterwards. Am I ready for other people's reaction? PhD's in particular come with a lot of reaction from people. Some people are really negative about it. Some people are really positive about it. You need to be ready for that reaction because it could for you, when someone is really negative about you're doing a PhD. Particularly, if they think that you might not be suited to a PhD or perhaps you lack the intelligence to do a PhD. So, am I ready for other people's reactions? Doing a PhD with any courses of study might have changed things. So, what things do you need to change to make it work?
Question 7, what must stay the same in order for this to work? That could e, I don't know that I don't want to have my relationships change, and this has to work. Or it could be that I need to keep my mental, and physical health up-to-date and make this work. So what are the things that must stay the same in order for it to work? Then, what am I not giving up? So again, that's kind of in that same thing but you might not give up TV or you might not be giving up the lifestyle that you want to lead. Those the kinds of questions you might ask then. What will I gain by doing this? We're not just talking about career but we're talking about what you gained personally. What knowledge will you gain? What experience will you gain?
Question 10 is what is my plan? What's my plan for making this work? What's my plan for making this happen? What do I think I'll be able to do to make all of this success? A PhD is at least 3 years full-time at least. So, the question is, are you ready to do the work? Are you ready? Are you prepared to put that level of work in? Not many things go for as long as a PhD, have you done that kind of work in the past? Could you do it? How will you make it successful?
Next is what is success to me? Is completing a PhD a success? Is becoming an academic success? Is having a job that makes use of your PhD is success? What does success look like for me?
Question 13 is what happens when I lose motivation? What will I do when I run out of the desire to do the course or do my PhD goes?
What happened then question 14, is what happens if my course or my PhD is not what I expected? What will I do? You know, what will I change to make it better or what could I hange to make it better?
Question 15, what are the power dynamics there might be between me, and my teachers?
Question 16 will the power dynamics between me, and my fellow students, if you're going to study a PhD or going back to studying in eneral? You might be an older person in a class of young students. How ill you feel about that? What will you do?
Question 17, will it be full-time study or part-time study?
Question 18, do I need to quit my job? So, some people can do full-time study, and work. Others can't. Will you quit your job? Who knows, maybe you don't. Like I said at the start, maybe you're going back to study because COVID-19 has fostered circumstances on you. This is the time to study but you know, would you go and get another job while you're studying? How are you gonna pay for all of this? How you pay for our lifestyle? How will you pay for your study? What's my entry plan? How am I gonna get prepared for when this all starts.
And then finally, question 21 because there's always a bonus question, what's my exit plan? What would I do to make sure that I make the best use of the time that I've just spent getting educated?
So, there you have it, 21 questions to ask an answer before you go back to study. I hope they're useful.
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