What is PhDology?
When proposing a new research project, doctoral students are challenged to consider two things: 1) why would people care about it and 2) what is the overall contribution to society?
When the idea of starting a blog occurred to me, I thought about these questions often and deeply. Initially, I wanted to write freely, dress cute and use blogging as a diary. My graduate experience was happening so fast, I just wanted something to have to remember it by. As I skimmed the literature, I realized my blog needed to be so much more. I found plenty of academic articles about doctoral students with long titles and confusing scientific jargon, that honestly, I couldn't muster the energy to read. I found blogs by other PhD students, well-written with really pretty designs that made me discouraged about starting my own. Throughout this search though, I always reflected on my own experiences. I realized I hadn’t quite come across anything that described the graduate experience I was having. Where were the people who thought about quitting, those who were excited about teaching, went on an occasional vacation, took forever to publish, worked another job, and had gone through a slew of different advisors? I've talked to enough students to know I'm not only one going through such things, so why isn't there a blog that openly talks about these incidents in an unscientific, human way?
Fear, time constraints, and impression management are a few reasons, there aren’t many spaces where doctoral students, especially minority ones, are willing to unapologetically, share their real, unfiltered graduate experiences. PhDology seeks to fill this gap. This is not a blog that further puts pressure on PhD students to be perfect and productive, or to solely give advice on how to succeed. My aim is to share with you what I wish I would have known, helpful things I've learned along the way, and ultimately what it's really like to be a PhD student; you know, the good, the bad, and the political.
Also, outside of academia, others know very little about the lives of doctoral students. When we think about our social networks and the six degrees of separation, we all know a PhD student. Not only am I a PhD student, I’m a mom, fiancee, sister, daughter, friend, a worker (not a boss) and so many other things. Our friends need to know when we don't call them as often as we use to, it's not intentional. Or if you can't make it home for the holidays, its not a slight to your mother's cooking. By blogging about my PhD life, I welcome the friends, family, lovers, bosses, and church members of other students. You all are on this journey with us and I hope my writings explain some of the things we may fail to tell you, like why we hate when people ask us about when we're going to graduate, lol.
So as I write and answer your questions, my goal is to generate a body of knowledge that will provide the foundations for a new academic discipline, PhDology-the unscientific exploration of doctoral students and the PhD experience. PhDology seeks to be useful to anyone who knows a PhD student, aspires to pursue a PhD, or is just curious about what it's like to be in school for a really, really long time. Ideally, this knowledge will make us better PhDs conducting our best research, and hopefully it will inspire and prepare others to join the academy as well. Certainly, society can benefit from that.