One of my goals, as I mentioned in the post “COVID n Curiosity“, is to earn a PhD. While many people struggle to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree, it might seem too ambitious to aim for a PhD, the highest level of academic recognition. Doctor of Philosophy or PhD is generally perceived with great respect as one has to give long term commitment in time and money.
If it takes so much time and money to get a PhD, why should a person like me with a time-consuming job and sufficient salary set it as a goal? In this post, I will answer this question.
First, people stay away from PhD as it requires a minimum of 5 years of dedicated work. For example, most people take 2 years to complete research techniques/core courses and another 3 years to complete the PhD project. It may be possible that the project can go beyond 3 years. In such cases, it will take more than 5 years to obtain a PhD. In exceptional cases where you have a research background, the first 2 years might be waived off. At present, many top universities offer PhD programs with a duration of 5 years irrespective of your research background. Since you need to spend more or less 5 years of your lifetime, a PhD is only advisable if your heart lies at the core value of a PhD, which is research and teaching.
So, the big question is, “Am I interested in research and teaching?”.
The answer to the question is “Yes”. I would love to teach. One could say, I have got it in my genes. My maternal grandfather was a successful elementary teacher, and my mother was a successful high school teacher. So, if the upgrade trend continues, I can become a successful professor. Before you come to any conclusion, I will share what I have observed which makes everyone fit for the teaching profession.
Everyone wants to talk about something; to be precise, everyone wants few people to listen to them. And, if you want someone to listen to you, usually, you should know more content than the person listening to you. With this logic, everyone is striving to teach something to the world; maybe, with a limited audience. So, I would say anyone can become interested in teaching provided that the person is willing to invest time, money and energy in preparing the content.
Essentially, you should be curious about the topic which you are about to teach. Curiosity and Research are conjoined twins; where there is a curiosity, there is research. In nutshell, successful teachers are curious persons; and, curious persons are always eager to teach something to the world.
Next, people don’t require a PhD to earn money. They should compromise their earning potential to study for a PhD. For instance, while you spend 5 years of your precious time mastering a subject, your master’s batchmate will work in a company and become financially stable at the end of 5 years. If we compare you with a bachelor’s batchmate, the probability is even high as the batchmate will have 7 years to become financially stable.
At this point, one could argue, not everyone is capable of becoming financially stable. The argument, however, is hypocritical as you see yourself completing PhD from a reputed university at the earliest possible period, but you cannot see your batchmates join a reputed company and raise through promotions. Overall, as a general trend, if we analyse two people with more or less the same potential, a person with a PhD will lag behind the other person financially by at least 10 years (including PhD duration). So, if you are looking forward to standing out financially in your peer group of similar potential, PhD is not a good option.
That sparks the question, “Am I willing to sacrifice my earning potential over a PhD?”
The answer is “Yes” because I am OK to compromise money over teaching and research.
In summary, you should choose PhD only if you enjoy research and teaching. You should be OK to compromise your earning potential over teaching/research. In my case, I satisfy both conditions. So, I would like to do a PhD.
Thanks for reading the full article. I believe you have got an idea about the mindset of a PhD scholar. In the next post, I will talk about the unique benefits of a PhD. Till then, see you!