A day in the life PhD student

July 16, 2008

Today was very enjoyable and I thought I’d post here about it- if for no other reason than to remind myself of what I like about being a PhD student on those days when I wonder why I ever started this journey.

I was up early this morning and enjoyed the sunny, clear morning air (despite the frosty cold) on my walk to the university. I left early as I had some prep to do before my first tutorial of the semester. The class is a first year (undergrad) development studies course called “Rich World Poor World”. It went well. The class was mostly already there when I arrived 10 minutes early and participated well in discussions on “what is development” and “can development be measured”. Of course after years of study I think have even less idea about what development is than I did when I was in thier place, but it’s good to get people starting to think critically about thier assumptions about the world and our place in it.

After that I spent some time answering emails, arranging meetings and trying to organise accomodation for our trip to Honduras in September, which I am starting to get quite excited about.

Then I had a meeting with a PhD reading group we are starting up- lunch, hot chocolate and nearly 2 hours discussing post-development theories and politics. Sounds dry and boring? It wasn’t. Trust me!

Then back to my desk for a couple of hours writing, trying to sort out my ideas on international volunteering and volunteer tourism, being hopeful about the potential while not ignoring the pitfalls.

And then the walk home. Not a stunningly special day, nor even particularly exciting. But it is such a priviledge to have the space to explore new ideas and to share them with others. To often at work and in daily life we get caught up in the routine and in what needs to be done. To be able to think- that to me is a joy.

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2 Responses to “A day in the life PhD student”

  1. Saj Says:

    Very well written. I hope to start my doctoral degree Fall 2009. I hear both good and bad things about the life as a phd. But I am looking forward to welcoming it with open arms. Thanks for writing this. I especially like the ending. I think it is the freedom and opportunity one gets that attracts me to phd to begin with.
    Good luck to you.

    • Sharon Says:

      Thanks for your comment Saj. I am still enjoying the PhD, however I won’t deny it is difficult sometimes. It certainly takes over your life! Good luck with starting your degree, I hope it goes well for you.


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