That awkward moment when your friends think you are crazy because you have started your third degree- a PhD. Every time I introduce myself as a PhD student, I always get the default question: “Why did you start a PhD?”. People who know how passionate I am about Engineering practice cannot seem to get their mind around the idea of seeing me as a researcher. Haven said all that, I will like to address this issue and tell you why you should probably consider a PhD too.
Hopefully, you will consider a PhD too after reading this.
Let me state categorically at this point that you need to have the drive to start a PhD, continue it and complete it. Without personal drive or motivation, it will be a tough journey for 3-4 years. Research has shown that majority of students who stopped their PhD program mid-way, did so because of lack of personal motivation. It is the motivation that keeps you going even when challenges come and it looks as if you are not making progress. A personal drive will help you strategize well and finish strong.
But the question remains: “How do you get motivated?” or better still “What can motivate you to start a PhD”. If you are contemplating on starting a PhD, you have come to the right place.
There are loads and loads of reasons why you should strongly consider a PhD. I will be discussing five of these reasons with you in this blog. I call them the five-cardinal drives for a successful PhD. These cardinal drives are Prestige, Knowledge, Job, Academic Network and Challenges. Your motivation for a PhD would normally fit into one of more of theses cardinal drives. Only in rare cases will you have a PhD candidate whose motivation is linked to ALL of these cardinal drives.
Prestige: it can not be overemphasized that the prestige attached to attached to having a PhD degree is enormous. Apart from having the opportunity to be called a Doctor (of philosophy), a PhD graduate is usually regarded higher in rank than colleagues at different levels. A PhD shows that you are a great thinker and that you are able to analyze the situation and provide a working solution to most challenges in your area of specialty.
Knowledge: I am just in the second year of my PhD study but I can categorically tell you that what I know now cannot be compared to what I knew at the start of my PhD. A PhD will make be more knowledgeable in your chosen area of specialty. It sharpens your knowledge and exposure in your chosen field. If you intend to know more about your chosen field, you should start considering a PhD. The quest for knowledge does not only grow your mind but it grows your career and helps you to discover new things that cannot be taught in the classroom.
Job: In this generation, there are loads applicants with one or two degrees, having a PhD will give you an edge other candidates in any job application. Employability statistics shows that PhD graduates have higher chances of getting the desired job than Master’ degree or Bachelor’s degree graduates. The starting salaries for PhD graduates is also about 30-50% higher than first degree holders. If you want to land that dream job and also desire a rapid career growth, you should consider starting a PhD.
Academic Network: The network you build over the course of your PhD can project you into your desired future and give you the exposure you need. There are several cases where PhD students land their dream job through the network they were able to build during academic conferences and research activities. In a short while, I have been able to an academic network across different continents. PhD will help you build a strong network with the right people at the right time.
Challenges: PhD students are problem solvers – they provide solutions to critical challenges faced in our world today. Research makes life better for both young and old. Your ability to overcome challenges and provide solutions to penitent problems improves over the course of a PhD study.
Therefore, if you want the prestige attached to a PhD, the immense increase in knowledge involved, an edge over other job applicants, a strong academic network and want to provide solutions to the challenges in your field, then you should consider starting a PhD. Beyond these five cardinal drives, there are several other benefits of starting and completing a PhD. With these drives, you will move from being a PhD candidate to being a PhD survivor.
Give this a thought and start a PhD today!