Not too long ago, I passed from being a graduand to graduate. What’s the difference? Well, a confirmed sense of achievement and a piece of paper telling people I know the Physics. Apart from that (and the aforementioned celebrations) not a fat lot. Still, it’s pleasing to have the student phase done with – I now have something more than a minor reputation for coffee drinking and an A-level to convince people to take me seriously. It’s also fantastic to achieve what has been for me a significant life aim – I’ve been working hard to get this Masters degree for seven years now. It really has been an ambition for that long. I suppose that’s a massive confidence boost, and now I’m finding that I’m looking for new goals and ambitions to chase in my postgraduate life. This excites me thoroughly.
Except the student phase isn’t over. I did mention earlier that I’ve started studying for my PhD already – the 1st June was my start date and boy have I been
slacking working hard! The thing about a PhD is that it’s not a wishy-washy student course. You’re expected to work hard 9-5 all week and to basically run your own research project from the start – this is a world away from the prescribed courses and syllabus’ of education. I suppose that right now I feel that my PhD isn’t just another degree – I see it as an occupation that I’m good at, that I enjoy, and that I happen to also get paid a living wage for. I think that I’m lucky in that, but also I think that this should absolve me from the ever-damaging “student” label. I’ve taken to introducing myself to formal acquaintances as “postgraduate researcher” rather than “PhD student” just to lessen the stigma attached with the word.
Having said all that, the actual content of my PhD is fantastic fun (in my view) and I’m looking forward to sharing some of it with you readers soon.