Contributed by Colm Flynn, TCD
Do you consider your PhD to be a job or a vocation?: I have distinct memories of a celestial voice imploring me to share my historical insights with the world… so, vocation then, I suppose. Also, jobs pay so it’s not one of those.
In 20 words or less tell us why you decided to do a PhD: I dearly want to live in an Ivory Tower (I also enjoy my topic and the challenge the research presents).
Colm’s Diary: Writing a PhD is a lot like making love to a beautiful woman – sometimes you wish you were writing a different PhD. It’s the nature of the beast (you may have noted that we’ve now moved on from the beautiful woman analogy) that, no matter how interesting your topic of research, there will be occasions where one’s academic drive and vim deserts one. My answer to the ubiquitous question, ‘you there, what is you PhD in exactly?’, usually elicits a very positive and interested response. Upon discovering that I work on 12th century crusader artillery most people display what seems like genuine interest and have follow up questions even though they might be vague or Lord of the Rings related. It seems, however, despite my proud ownership of a topic that breeds such interest (and I do own it, so back off), it is impossible to complete four or so years (three and a half with any luck) without several of those weeks – the ones wherein one single-handedly doubles the number of hits on the Guardian’s website, the paucity of articles on Medieval artillery in that particular newspaper notwithstanding.
The further I progress into my research the more convinced I am that there are two principle challenges to the completion of a PhD Read more