Although doing a Ph.D. is a long and rewarding process but sometimes it can also be frustrating and tedious. Many a times the questions put forward to Ph.D. scholars are so annoying that they pretend to be normal but in their head they have stabbed you million times. As a Ph.D. scholar we come across so many questions from our peers, relatives and family members that we have recorded the answers in our head and play it when asked again. Here is a list of ten questions we face every time or the questions NOT to ask from a Ph.D. scholar.
- Are you still studying / Are you still a student?
Basically, we form the middle layer of teaching staff and the students. We get benefits of student concession and also the staff subsidy. We take lectures and also study for our coursework. But in eyes of our peers who are already in years of their job regard us as still in college and consider as a poor pity student – who goes to classes to meet the lecturers’ instructions.
- When will you get a job?
We are actually working and getting a stipend for our research but normal society is not considering it as a job. Everyone is looking for the permanent job and the final settlement. This question actually makes a Ph.D. scholar frustrated and they cannot describe that they are actually earning from the grant.
- How is your research going?
Well! This is a million dollar question in front of a Ph.D. scholar who is involved in research because they are framing a new objective every day. All the literature survey they can revise in a fraction of second after facing this question. A Ph.D. scholar starts thinking about all the protocols he has followed till now and the protocol he has to follow in future. But at last they will reply in a shortest answer “Its going well. J”.
- When are you submitting your thesis?
A Ph.D. scholar devotes his 4 – 5 years into research till then the peers and family members start doubting that whether he/she will be able to complete the Ph.D. or not, whether he/she will take other responsibilities or not etc etc etc..!!!! But a poor Ph.D. scholar who is actually involved in research has the target that just after this objective he can submit his thesis… and whoa again a new idea came and he/she started working for that. A simple advice to answer this question is that think a random number in your mind, double it and add some more to it and answer this question. This will help you out in many ways e.g. if you will submit before the said period then you are ahead of your plan and if you are submitting your thesis on the said period then you are on time and sticking to your plan. This trick will give your image as perfect person to manage with time.
- What after your Ph.D.?
A Ph.D. scholar who is deeply involved in their research he/she have not even got time to plan for their “what after Ph.D.” thing. But when they actually came to an end to finish their Ph.D. they are still blank and blindly enters in Post Doctoral Fellowship (PDF). Whoa! Their peers and family are still thinking that they are still studying, they are not earning blah blah blah.!
Another case for those who are doing interdisciplinary research and have also planned for after Ph.D. This is one of the most difficult and painful question in front of these Ph.D. scholar because after looking into their research which is actually entirely different from their initial plan and many times they entered into different subject to make their thesis as interdisciplinary and finally at last they are thinking which field they should opt for their future. Even if they are going to give interview at company/institute from their core subject they are getting answer that they are not exactly from this subject/field. Additionally, if they will go for those interdisciplinary field in which their thesis is; those industries/companies will tell you are not from this field.
- How is your research benefit the society?
Many of the Ph.D. scholars know the answer and can defend the question either partially or fully but some of the research scholars, especially life-science students, they are still thinking many questions e.g. what am I doing? Why am I doing this? What benefit will be there? Well! To answer these I should advice that instead of these questions they should defend their negative thoughts with these answers – Someday some where my research will be beneficial in some applications. Although I am doing basic research I am adding some value to the initial finding which will be beneficial for those who are working at the applicability of this. My research data will be considered if my hypothesis will take some actual shape and once it will take proper shape I will be the Hero.
These will really be helpful in defending the negative questions/thoughts.
- Don’t you get any vacations?
A Ph.D. scholar who is working for day and night just to finish their objectives. They are getting struck in the laboratory or work place without seeing the light of the day. Peers/Undergrad/Grad student who are getting routine vacations could not understand it. The main aim of the Ph.D. scholar is to finish their objective what they have planned and started working for it because once they will stop it they have to start it again from the initial. This question will be most painful and once this question will come in front of a Ph.D. scholar they started remembering faces of their family members. Like a reel it will run in their mind and they will reply and utter “Yeap in next month I am planning to go home”.
- Why are you so obsessed with this?
Ph.D. scholars are often confronted with these questions: Have you seen this movie? Have you heard this song? Have you tried this online game? Did you check out this new app? Notably, for all these questions a Ph.D. scholar has a single one word answer “NO”. So please don’t ask those questions which can make them feel that they are really obsessed with research.
- How is your social life?
Well! A Ph.D. scholar who is not getting time to utilize the free wifi for social networking sites will really, really get pain to face this question. This question will make them realize that its been a long time they hang out with their friends, it been a long they went for a pub or a party and its been a long they have enjoyed the moonlight at the roof top.
- Don’t you have proper time frame to work?
In an ideal way yes a Ph.D. scholar have proper time frame to work but in real scenario “no”. Actually, it is an advantage for a Ph.D. scholar that they can work at any time and they can make the time frame as per their comfort but the world will think that they are mad who will start working at anytime.
Written by Nandita Dasgupta, VIT University, Vellore, India
via Xpert Arena